37 min Beerensteyn has the legs on this Swiss defence and she pulls to the left touchline, easing onto the gas to glide away from Buhler as she cuts inside, but Calligaris does relaly well to come across and block her off.
36 min Bachmann, who’s been quiet, drifts right and laces in a decent cross towards the near post, where Reutler is ahead of the dozing Nouwen … but she doesn’t quite get the power to glance wide of Van Domelaar, who scrambles but saves easily enough.
34 min Though Bachmann is there are a draft excluder, Spitse goes low. But when the ball’s cleared, Spitse retrieves and her garryowen over the top gives Martens a chance at a header … and she nods goalwards, forcing Thalmann to tip over. The resultant corner comes to nowt.
33 min Nice from Spitse, allowing the ball across her body and feinting the touch, tempting Walti to challenge as the moves it away. She goes over the proffered thigh, and that’s a free-kick to Netherlands, 25 yards out and right of centre…
32 min Switzerland need to change things, I think – though perhaps not yet. They would, I imagine, take 0-0 with 20 to go, but if they keep playing as they are that seems unlikely. Perhaps their time is the 10 minutes either side of the hour.
30 min Nice from Crnogorevich, moving a clever, disguised pass square for Bachmann. But when she goes one more, Reutler isn’t quite there for her, and Van de Donk hurls herself into a challenge to clear.
28 min Time for a cooling break.
27 min Netherlands win a free-kick on the right, a cross drilled low for Groenen, pulling away from the spot. She makes decent contact too, but her firm sidefooter flies too close to Thalmann, who plucks out of the air easily enough.
25 min Netherlands are bossing this now, making the ball do the work in this messy heat.
24 min There’s been a development at Leigh! And it’s good news for Switzerland! Sweden lead Portugal 1-0, meaning Switzerland qualify with a win!
Thalmann buys Beerensteyn’s dummy – she shapes to shoot right then nips left – but does really well to adjust, sticking hand on ball. That stopped Beerensteyn finishing, and after consulting with the screen, the ref overrules herself.
Beerensteyn bursts away from Buhler, who can’t get close to her, a heavy touch draws Thalmann out, Beerensteyn should dink but tries to go around, goes down, and the ref points to the spot. But I don’t think the keeper got the player, so let’s see…
19 min Superb from Beerensteyn, spinning Calligaris as she controls a throw, back to goal, then swaying away from Sow, but as Buhler comes across, she drags her shot. Still, Netherlands are now the better side.
17 min Yup, Netherlands have settled. Janssen isolates Buhler out wide, slows her down then chucks in a stepover, drills over a decent low cross … but it’s only the diminutive Van de Donk in the middle, who can’t get on the end of it.
16 min Van de Donk rushes towards Thalmann, forcing a hurried clearance, and that’s great news for Netherlands because it tells us they’re getting closer to their normal game.
15 min Sweden v Portugal is still 0-0, but every time I look, Portugal seem to be getting in among it with the physical tackles. It’s ticking.
13 min Nice from Switzerland, Calligaris playing into midfield seeking Maendly, who instead runs off Bachmann, coillects her adroit flick in behind, cuts inside onto her left foot … and unfurls a terrific curler that Van Domelaar tips over the top. Great behaviour all round, the eventuating corner coming to nowt.
12 min Roord is the only Dutch player properly at it and she latches onto a loose ball outside the Switzerland box, leatherting a shot directly into Buhler’s phizog. Ouch.
10 min In commentary, Robyn Cowan tells us that Miedema still has Covid symptoms. That is not good news, and does, I’d guess mean she’s struggling for any quarter. It affects everyone differently, but I could hardly move the first time I exercised after having it; for finely-tuned athletes like us, it can be a real problem.
10 min Maendly goes low, Bachmann can’t quite control so it goes back to Maendly, and her second cross finds no one. But Netherlands haven’t got going yet; can Switzerland take advantage?
9 min Maritz goes down the right and crosses, Groenen blocking behind. Corner Switzerland…
8 min Nice sway in midfield from Van de Donk, she plays early into Beerensteyn … but Calligaris is in sharply.
6 min Sorry!
6 min A roulette from Roord in centrefield, of which nothing comes – but let’s be real, pulling that off in the middle of a crucial game is its own reroord.
5 min Reutler carries and plays off Bachmann, but Netherlands are marked up so force play backwards.
4 min It’s Switzerland pushing the early pace, which makes sense – they need to win, while Netherlands need to avoid defeat. I’m not sure it’ll continue like that because the latter are set up to attack, but for now, they’re largely sitting off.
2 min A long ball over the top from Maritz seeks Crnogorcevic, but Van der Gracht is across to clean up.
1 min For those watching in black and white, Switzerland are in red, Netherlands in white with blue shorts.
1 min And away we go, before the countdown is ready … so we go again.
The players taken the knee.
I also enjoyed this from Anouk Hoogendijk, also on the gantry: “I’m not convinced about the game – we haven’t shown yet how good we are. We are still not ready yet, the players don’t look happy, the players are not all in their best form yet. Hopefully tonight we will be happy but they didn’t sort it out yet.”
In the crowd, there’s a band playing along with Netherlands’.
The teams are tunnelled, and here they come!
The great Kelly Smith is on the gantry, talking about how much she enjoyed playing with Van de Donk, and Fara Williams concurs, noting how tough she is. This game is going to be a belter.
Mark Parsons says it’s “very important” to have Nouwen and Groenen back. He’s got great depth so has to make lots of choices, but these two have played lots of big games for their clubs. On Miedema, he laments her absence, noting that she’s “born to be on the pitch”, so they’re trying to support her just as she’s supporting them, involved in the squad, and she’s improving. I didn’t get the sense that she’ll be ready for the quarters, should Netherlands qualify, but let’s hope I’m wrong.
Nils Nielsen, the Switzerland manager, assures us that Bachmann is fine – she went off in the Sweden game, but it was just a cramp.
Nice to see BBC using Marc Anthony’s Vivir Mi Vida in their Spain package.
However, let’s not forget the absolute banger from which its sample originates:
On which point, I’m really looking forward to seeing how Lia Wälti gets to grips with them. That battle might decide the game.
That said, the returning Nouwen and Groenen will make a massive difference. Groenen, in particular, will provide ballast that allows the in-form Roord to get forward in support of Van de Donk, Beerensteyn and Martens.
I wonder if we’ve seen the best if this Netherlands side. They’ve still got plenty of quality, of course, but for them to win this they’ll need Martens to find her best form and Miedema to return like she’s never been away. Neither are a massive reach, but you can’t help but think the defending champions have been overtaken by England, Germany, France and Spain.
Nowt to do with our match, but nice nevertheless.
Public service announcement: did you see how the Italy team attacked their national anthem on Thursday afternoon? Either way, treat yourself and go to 10m 50s of this.
Switzerland, meanwhile, are unchanged.
Netherlands male two changes from the side that beat Portugal, eventually – one at the back, where Janseen moves to left-back, allowing Nouwen back in, and one in midfield, where Groenine replaces Egurrole. “We have a lot of midfield options, Mark Parsons told Uefa. “Jackie [Groenen] has her attacking qualities, especially in transitions, and she has an engine that won’t stop. If her and Aniek [Nouwen] are healthy, they need to be on the pitch.”
You’ll notice Netherlands are a player down. Let’s hope the incredible Viv Miedema is back and healthy, soon.
Switzerland (4-2-3-1): Thalmann; Maritz, Calligaris, Buehler, Aigbogun; Walti, Maendly; Crnogorčević, Sow, Reuteler; Bachman. Subs: Peng, Friedli, Stierli, Marti, Rinast, Xhemali, Kiwic, Mauron, Fölmli, Humm, Riesen, Terchoun.
Netherlands (4-3-3): Van Dornselaar; Wilms, Van der Gragt, Nouwen, Janssen; Greens, Roord, Pointed; Van de Donk, Beerensteyn, Martens. Subs: Weimar, Lorsheyd, Van Dongen, Pelova, Jansen, Dijkstra, Leuchter, Casparij, Olislagers, Egurrola, Brugts.
Referee: Iuliana Demetrescu (Romania)
If, before Group C got going, you’d been told that before their final game, Switzerland would have the fear, you’d probably have assumed that they were contemplating what a rampant Netherlands might do to them. But as Lock Stock’s Soap advised us – using, I’m afraid, naughty language – making assumptions is a fool’s errand, and he was’t even talking about football.
In their first game against Portugal, La Nati were two-up inside five minutes, only to concede two in seven minutes either side of the hour; then in their second against Sweden, they equalised two minutes after going behind only to allow a late winner 11 minutes from time; so instead, they’re contemplating an early trip home that they needn’t have made, needing a win here to even have a chance to reaching the quarter-finals.
Netherlands, meanwhile, might have expected to be through already, but they are not. A point will be enough, but they’ll want to win the group to set up a last-eight meeting with Iceland, Belgium or Italy, rather than France.
We’ll talk about the specifics of the match-up in due course, but to being with, here is our housekeeping:
- If Switzerland win here, they go through if Sweden avoid defeat against Portugal, finishing above the Netherlands on head-to-head. If both Switzerland and Portugal win, all four teams will have four points so the group will be decided on goal difference, then goals scored, then disciplinary rankings, then Uefa’s association coefficient; the order is Sweden, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland.
- Netherlands are through if they avoid defeat. If they and Sweden both win or draw, which of them top the group will be decided on goal difference, then goals scored, then disciplinary rankings, then coefficient.
- Sweden are through if they avoid defeat against Portugal. If they are level with Netherlands, which of them top the group will be decided on goal difference, then goals scored, then disciplinary rankings, then coefficient.
- Portugal must beat Sweden and hope Netherland avoid defeat against Switzerland; they would then finish above Sweden on head-to-head. If Portugal and Switzerland win, all four teams will have four points so the group will be decided on goal difference, then goals scored, then disciplinary rankings, then coefficient.
Kick-off: 5pm BST