Two Arsenal players broke England hearts in Enschede as the Netherlands advanced to the Euro 2017 final with a 3-0 win over the Lionesses.
After four straight victories had catapulted Mark Sampson's side to the last four, they were knocked out by the host nation who were backed by a near-capacity crowd at the home of FC Twente.
- UEFA Women's European Championship
- Thursday 4 August 2017
- FC Twente, Enschede
- Live on Channel 4 and Eurosport
Sarina Wiegman’s side started brightly and recent Gunners recruit Vivianne Miedema headed them in front on 22 minutes.
Her new club mate Danielle van de Donk then doubled the lead when she pounced on Fara Williams’ header back to Siobhan Chamberlain to slot home a second.
And England’s misery was compounded when Millie Bright, so impressive throughout the tournament, inadvertently directed Lieke Martens’ shot into her own net with the last kick of the game.
Sampson’s long-standing mantra for his team is to “find a way to win”. They huffed and puffed and created a number of decent chances but were unable to find a way past another Arsenal player, goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal.
There were two changes from the side that edged France out in the quarter final with Chamberlain replacing the injured Karen Bardsley and Williams coming in for the suspended Jill Scott.
The stadium was bright and loud, and there was a terrific atmosphere in the opening exchanges – even though the first shot didn’t come until the 20th minute, through van de Donk.
That shot proved to be a warning sign; two minutes later the hosts were ahead.
Jackie Groenen found space down the right and delivered a delicious cross to the back post where Miedema rose above Steph Houghton to head back across goal and into the far corner to give the Netherlands a deserved lead.
It was the first time England had been behind in the tournament – and Sampson’s charges tried to respond straight away.
Fran Kirby hurriedly hit an 18-yard shot off target and Houghton bent a free-kick just wide, two chances that came either side of a Jade Moore header which was deflected onto the bar and away.
Lucy Bronze then smashed an angled shot wide and Jodie Taylor, the tournament’s top scorer, had a low shot saved by Gunners club mate van Veenendaal as England showed signs they had finally grown into the game.
Two Liverpool players then took centre stage as the Lionesses failed to clear their lines. A half-clearance fell to Reds forward Shanice van de Sanden but she was denied by an excellent save from Chamberlain, who palmed the ball away from danger.
The Netherlands survived a scare just before the hour mark when Kirby tricked her way into the space inside the box. Her lay-off to Ellen White was soft but Stephanie van der Gragt’s clearance hit White and bounced goalwards. Van Veenendaal was on-hand to mop up.
And they made the most of the reprieve by extending their lead just moments later.
As the Dutch broke forward to the edge of the England box, Williams attempted to take the sting out of the attack by heading the ball back to Chamberlain. But the pass back was intercepted and despatched by van de Donk.
Again, England responded. White prodded wide when being closed down by van Veenendaal, Houghton sent another free-kick wide and substitute Toni Duggan, on for Williams, flashed a shot just past the angle.
Taylor had a glorious chance to halve arrears with just ten minutes remaining but was denied once more by the Netherlands keeper, this time from close range.
Duggan had a shot cleared off the line from a corner before Bright’s unfortunate own goal rounded off a disappointing end to what had hitherto been such a promising campaign for Lionesses.
Denmark defeated Austria on penalties in the other semi-final.
England must now dust themselves down and be ready for the 2019 FIFA World Cup qualifiers which begin next month. First up is Russia at Prenton Park on Tuesday 19 September.
Netherlands (4-3-3): 1 Sari van Veenendaal; 2 Desiree van Lunteren, 6 Anouk Dekker, 3 Stephanie van der Gragt, 5 Kika van Es; 14 Jackie Groenen, 10 Danielle van de Donk, 8 Sherida Spitse (C); 7 Shanice van de Sanden, 9 Vivianne Miedema, 11 Lieke Martens.
Substitutes: 17 Kelly Zeeman for van der Gragt 71, 13 Renate Jansen for van de Sanden 89, 12 Jill Roord for van de Donk 90+1.
Substitutes not used: 4 Mandy van den Berg, 15 Sisca Folkertsma, 16 Angela Christ, 18 Vanity Lewerissa, 19 Sheila van den Bulk, 20 Dominique Janssen, 21 Lineth Beerensteyn, 22 Liza van der Most, 23 Loes Geurts.
Goals: Miedema 22, van de Donk 62, Bright (o.g) 90+2.
Bookings: van Lunteren 13, van de Donk 59
Head coach: Sarina Wiegman
England (4-4-2): 13 Siobhan Chamberlain (Liverpool); 2 Lucy Bronze (Manchester City), 5 Steph Houghton (capt; Manchester City), 16 Millie Bright (Chelsea), 3 Demi Stokes (Manchester City); 7 Jordan Nobbs (Arsenal), 11 Jade Moore (Reading), 10 Fara Williams (Arsenal), 18 Ellen White (Birmingham City); 23 Fran Kirby (Chelsea), 9 Jodie Taylor (Arsenal).
Substitutes: 19 Toni Duggan (Barcelona) for Williams 67, 14 Karen Carney (Chelsea) for Moore 76.
Substitutes not used: 6 Jo Potter (Reading), 8 Isobel Christiansen (Manchester City), 15 Laura Bassett (Unattached), 17 Nikita Parris (Manchester City), 20 Alex Greenwood (Liverpool), 21 Carly Telford (Chelsea), 22 Alex Scott (Arsenal).
Bookings: Bright 15, Moore 47
Head coach: Mark Sampson
Referee: Stephanie Frappart (FRA)