European champion Netherlands and Switzerland advanced to the final phase of the UEFA World Cup qualifying playoff and will square off for the continent’s final place in France next summer. Switzerland earned a 1-1 draw against Belgium to go through on away goals while Netherlands rallied from an early deficit to win 2-1 in Denmark and win safely on the aggregate.
Denmark, trailing 2-0 to open the day, looked to make it interesting when they won an early penalty and split the aggregate in half when Nadia Nadim converted from the spot in the 5th minute. But the joy was short lasting. Two minutes later Lineth Beerensteyn tied the match 1-1 with her second goal over the two legs.
Beerensteyn’s goal restored the two-goal lead on aggregate but also secured an away goal for Netherlands meaning Denmark was in need of three more goals to go through. They did not find another. Beerensteyn made it a brace in stoppage time to send the Netherlands through by 4-1 on aggregate. It marked the second significant win for Netherlands over Denmark in a little over a year. They met in the final match of the 2017 European Championship, a 4-2 victory for the Dutch.
In Switzerland, the home side went ahead early on a Geraldine Reuteler goal in the 23rd minute. Belgium equalized through Tine De Caigny in the 77th which also brought the aggregate back to level, but Switzerland had the advantage after nabbing a pair of away goals in the 2-2 draw in Belgium last week. When the final whistle sounded with the teams even 3-3, Switzerland were through on away goals and the World Cup dream for Belgium was over.
The two-leg playoff final will begin in the Netherlands with tentative dates of November 5 and 13.
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