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A late penalty gave the Netherlands a 2-1 victory over Japan and a place in the quarter finals of the World Cup for the first time.
The goal came completely against the run of play at that stage but it gave the Dutch revenge for their defeat to Japan at the same stage four years ago.
The Netherlands were on top during the opening stages and deservedly took the lead in the seventeenth minute, via a clever flick from Lieke Martens from a Sherida Spitse corner, which took a deflection on its way past Ayaka Yamashita.
Japan's response was a swift one, with Yuika Sugasawa hitting the post, but two minutes before half time they were back on level terms after a good move culminated with Mana Iwabuchi slipping a through ball to Yui Hasegawa who dinked her shot over Sari van Veenendaal.
After the break, Japan stepped up their renowned passing game and dominated the last twenty minutes but as with their last game against England, they failed to find an end product and were made to pay eventually. Hasegawa went close to a second with a drive which was inches wide, Hina Sugita hit the underside of the bar from the edge of the area, Iwabuchi brought out an excellent save from van Veenendaal who also did well to make a point blank save from Yuka Momiki.
As the game went into injury time, with extra time looming, an increasing rare Netherlands attack saw Vivianne Miedema work herself some space and fire a shot at goal which struck the arm of Saki Kumagai. The resulting penalty decision looked harsh, but was correct under the new set of laws, and Martens was coolness personified as she slotted home from the spot. There was no time for Japan to reply and the Dutch are into new territory in the competition.
Next up for the Netherlands will be Italy, who were 2-0 winners over China earlier in the day. They carried their good form from their group matches into the game and after Valentina Giacinti had had an early goal disallowed for offside, the striker was not to be denied on the quarter hour as she followed up to score after Peng Shimeng had parried a shot from Elisa Bartoli.
Shimeng made a good save from Valentina Bergamaschi as Italy sought a second goal, and this sparked an upsurge from the Chinese team as they finished the first half on top.
However just four minutes into the second half, Aurora Galli picked the ball up midway inside the Chinese half and carried the ball before drilling a low accurate shot into the corner of the net from 20 yards.
The game was over as a contest from that point and Italy continued their impressive march into the last eight, with the opportunity of reaching the semi finals for the first time.
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