Camille Abily’s 76th-minute free kick rescued 10-woman France, who advanced to the quarterfinals of the European Championship by the skin of their teeth with a 1-1 draw. Tipped by many to end Germany’s dominance at the event, Olivier Echouafni’s side found itself in dire straits after 19 minutes when Eve Perisset was sent off for a last defender foul and Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic scored off the ensuing free kick to put Switzerland on top.
Over in Rotterdam, Austria were busy routing Iceland, taking a two-goal lead into halftime en route to a 3-0 victory that meant France would need an equalizer in order to get through. Their window opened with a quarter hour to play when Eugenie Le Sommer took on two players and drew a foul from Swiss goal scorer Ana-Maria Crnogorcevic. Abily stepped into the free kick with her right foot, and it slipped through the hands of keeper Gaelle Thalmann who covered her face with her hands while France celebrated the equalizer.
— WomensSoccerUnited (@WSUasa) July 26, 2017
Austria needed no such dramatics to drop Iceland and win Group C in their first trip to the finals of Europe’s continental championship. Goalkeeper error played a role there as well as the lead was granted when Gudbjorg dropped the easiest of balls and it fell into the path of Sarah Zadrazil, who had to do little more than touch it. Right before halftime, Austria went up 2-0 when a corner kick ricocheted off someone in the scrum in front of goal and in. Nina Burger was given initial credit for the goal but in post game comments indicated she thought it should have been another for Zadrazil. Stefanie Enzinger put it away for Austria with an 89th minute rebound just three minutes after subbing into the match.
Austria winning the group likely keeps them away from England in Sunday’s quarterfinal. That task is instead almost certain to fall to France, and it will not be an easy one as Wendie Renard’s second yellow card of the tournament means she will be suspended for the match, as will Perisset.
Switzerland will be left to wonder what might have been had they been able to hold off a shorthanded France side. Iceland had already been eliminated entering the day. They will leave their first EUROs with zero points but with their fans having left a mark just as indelible as they did when their men’s side made an improbable run to the quarterfinals last summer.
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