Having had less than successful qualifying tournaments, the Netherlands and Argentina snatched the last respective spots for Europe and the Americas at the 2019 Women's World Cup after their playoff wins.
Claiming a third-place finish at the Copa América Femenina after an impressive group run, there was little the Albicelestes could do about Brazil and Chile in the second phase of the tournament. Given a reprieve with their standings, the south American nation were placed in an intercontinental playoff with the fourth-place finisher at the CONCACAF Championship, Panama.
Having put all their eggs in one basket in Frisco, Panama failed to navigate the third-place playoff, losing out on penalties to Jamaica. With the team having picked up a cult following through the goalkeeping heroics from 17-year-old Yenith Bailey, there was little they could do against the might of Argentina.
A penalty save from Bailey in the first leg only enough to keep the hosts out temporarily before they fired two in in six minutes, Mariana Larroquette and Eliana Stabile the ones to leave Argentina comfortable at the break. There was little to be done for Panama as the hosts struck twice in second half stoppage time, Yamila Rodríguez and Larroquette’s quick-fire double enough to leave Panama needing a miracle in the second leg.
A first half goal from Natalia Mills something for the home fans at the Estadio Rommel Fernández but not enough to mount a comeback, Florencia Bonsegundo’s punt after the break reopening a four-goal gap that stood until the whistle.
Having breezed past Denmark in the playoff semi-finals, the Oranje were given a boost against Switzerland with both Lara Dickenmann and Ramona Bachmann absent for the first leg in Utrecht. An ACL injury to Dickenmann leaving her out of the tie altogether with Bachmann serving a one-match suspension for the first of the two crunch matches.
Out of their depth but giving it a good go, the Swiss did well to hold the hosts off in the first half, even daring to mount the odd attack on Loes Geurts’ goal, although without anything to show for their endeavours. A trademark thumping free kick from Sherida Spitse early in the second half enough to tip the tie, the Swiss defence falling apart to allow goals from Lieke Martens and Vivianne Miedema before the night was through.
Needing a similar type of miracle to Panama, the Swiss were gifted an advantage seven minutes into the match when Anouk Dekker was shown a straight red card. Down to ten, the visitors looked panicked, nervously batting the hosts away as they made advances on their goal. Just not good enough on the day, La Nati went in at the break still without a goal to show for their efforts.
A low effort from Miedema in the second half enough to put any thoughts of an unexpected comeback from the Swiss to bed, Coumba Sow’s strike 19 minutes from time enough to fill the LIPO Park with noise. Martina Voss-Tecklenburg’s final match in charge, not the high she would have wanted to go out on, although there is some face to be saved as the hosts avoided a loss on the night.