Spot on England reach Final
Wednesday, 02 June, 2010
England take penalty victory to earn place in Final.
England Women's U19s made it through to a second consecutive European Championship Final after a nerve-jangling semi-final penalty shootout against Holland in Skopje.
After 120 minutes, neither the Dutch nor the current holders could grab a goal to sneak victory, and it was left to the kicks from 12 yards to decide this tight affair.
England were immaculate with their shots, while Holland's skipper Siri Worm, who had otherwise enjoyed a solid evening in the Holland back four, missed the target with her country's second attempt and the Three Lions didn't allow them chance to recover.
Mo Marley's side probably had the better of the chances during the 90 minutes of normal time, but just couldn't find the breakthrough against a Dutch outfit content soaking up the pressure and attacking on the counter.
Three Lions captain Toni Duggan had two decent chances. For the first, midway through the first half, she was outnumbered inside the area when in a dangerous position, but with her second in the closing moments of the half she almost rounded off an England breakaway, but shot straight at Roxanne van den Berg.
Holland had their fair share of the ball, but had to make do with shots from distance. Merel van Dongen's 35-yarder failed to test Becky Spencer, while captain Siri Worm's left-foot drive was sneaking inside the post until the Arsenal stopper turned away for a corner.
After the break, it was again England who were making the best of their possession, with Demi Stokes finding space in a dangerous position inside the six yard box on two occasions, but couldn't apply the finishing touch despite a linesman's flag being raised both times. Meanwhile Gilly Flaherty profitted from two Jess Holbrook corners but each of her headers missed the target.
Both teams were tiring as the game moved into extra-time, and in the added 30 minutes neither set of players could carve out a match-winning opportunity.
So to penalties it was and England, with the chance to retain their European title firmly in focus, showed their steel from the spot to win the match and set up a final showdown with France, who beat Germany 5-3 on penalties, on Saturday afternoon.