- England eased through the group stages, steam rollering Scotland, before digging in deep to see off the Iberian pairing of Spain and Portugal. The quarter-finals threw up a difficult looking tie against France, a team who England had not beaten for 43 years, but the Lionesses snatched a second half goal before sinking their claws in to cling on and land a place in the semi-finals at the expense of Les Bleues.
- The Netherlands topped Group A with three wins from three games as they painstakingly overcame Euro 2013 finalists Norway, Denmark and neighbours Belgium, scoring four times and conceding just once. Sarina Wiegmann’s girls completed the Scandinavian hat-trick in the last eight as they comfortably saw off Sweden in Doetinchem to set up a meeting with England.
After overcoming the French in Deventer, England should be full of confidence heading into Thursday’s semi-final with the Dutch. Jodie Taylor’s 60th minute strike was enough to secure the win that night, and another goal could be just what England need to see off their hosts in their upcoming tie. The Arsenal Ladies striker, who has netted five times in four games, is 7/1 to break the deadlock against the Netherlands, while a goal at any stage in proceeding is well priced at 13/5.
If the Lionesses are to reach the final, they will be forced to battle through without number one goalkeeper Karen Bardsley, who suffered a broken leg during England’s victory over France. With the Manchester City stopper sidelined, there will be a starting place for Liverpool’s Siobhan Chamberlain. The 33-year-old is 29/10 to keep the Dutch out in a win to nil for England, while a clean sheet for the former Bristol Academy keeper, who made her international debut against the Netherlands in 2004, is 6/4.
England may be entering this game as favourites, but the Dutch are certainly not going to sit back and accept a sound beating on home soil. Sarina Wiegmann’s side have been well-disciplined in this tournament so far, conceding just one goal, and will be determined to avenge their Euro 2009 semi-final defeat to the English with victory this time around. At 21/10, the Dutch are good value, especially given the attacking threat posed by Arsenal’s exciting new signing Vivianne Miedema and Liverpool’s Shanice van de Sanden. A 1-0 win for the team in orange looks tempting at 7/1, while a Dutch win in which both teams score at 7/1 could be enough to entice even the most patriotic of England supporters.
Of course, with this being a major international tournament involving England, the prospect of penalties has to be discussed. You can get odds of 9/2 on either team prospering from the spot, while England are 10/1 to break Dutch hearts in a shootout. However, with semi-final encounter promising so much, it is hoped that the cruelty of penalties will not be needed, but it’s a real possibility, especially given how tight the majority of games at this year’s competition have been.
Sports.net’s top tip:
|Method of Victory||
Either team to win on penalties
*Please note, odds may fluctuate.