Denmark has this evening beaten Austria on penalties to advance to the final of Euro 2017 – the country’s first continental final since the men’s triumph a quarter of a century ago in Euro 1992.
Emphatic spotkicks by star forwards Nadia Nadim and Pernille Haarder put Denmark in a commanding 2-0 lead, and then two saves by goalkeeper Stina Lykke Petersen left Simone Boye Sorensen with the chance to score the winner and seal a resounding 3-0 win.
Austria missed four penalties
In total Austria missed four out of four penalties, as Sarah Puntigam missed one relatively early in the first half, skying her effort after a handball was awarded against Maja Kildemoes. Given the position of her hands, it was probably a fair decision.
The Ukrainian referee also did well to turn down an appeal by Haarder when she too easily went to ground moments earlier, but overall she was too lenient on an Austrian side – often playing six in defence – that was content to sit back and cynically stop the Danes when needed.
A Sanne Troelsgaard strike that hit the crossbar was the closest either side came to scoring in the first half, although it never looked like it was going in.
Sloppy final 75 minutes
As the game wore on, the standard of play got worse, with Austria particularly sloppy in front of goal, managing just two shots on target all game (from 16 efforts) compared to Denmark’s eight.
Some vigorous tackling led to a couple of early exits, and also a pair of nasty head collisions, as Denmark’s threat down the wings diminished and Austria’s tidy play in their opponent’s area came to nothing.
Other semi in progress
There was no late drama, either at the end of regular or extra time, but when it mattered most, Denmark’s best three players on the night and throughout the tournament – Nadim, Haarder and Petersen – delivered to send them through.
Denmark will face the winner of the semi-final between England and Netherlands, which is currently being broadcast on Eurosport 1, on Sunday August 6. With the first half over, the Dutch are leading 1-0.
UPDATE: The Netherlands won 3-0 and will face Denmark in Sunday’s final.