Germany 1-0 Sweden
The Germans were all over the Swedish team early on and caused them all sorts of trouble. The Swedish defence were tested repeatedly, and the Germans were a post-hit away from going 1-0 up in the 13th minute, as a well-placed cross found its way into the box, but the shot deflected off of the woodwork.
They kept pushing, however, and were rewarded in the 33rd minute as a German cross found the overcrowded box, it was cleared but picked up by Svenja Huth who fired it in, courtesy of a deflection off a Swedish defender which threw Zećira Mušović in goal. The pressure turned in the second half, and the Swedes were able to impose themselves more on the game, with several chances.
The best one came in the 85th minute, when Kosovare Asllani played Sofia Jakobsson free in front of the goal with a great pass, only for the striker to be taken out by German defender Giulia Gwinn. It was arguably a questionable tackle and Jakobsson called for a penalty, but to no avail.
Portugal 1-2 Italy
The game between the hosts and Italy contained a few intense moments. Portugal were first to get on the scoresheet, as Diana Silva took a free-kick from outside the box that soared in and looked set in Laura Giuliani’s hands, but the goalkeeper missed the ball and it went straight into the goal.
It was not the strongest of showings, but the Italians recovered and got one back in the 78th minute. An Italian corner soared into the box and an unmarked Elena Linari cooly headed the ball in the net. For a long time that looked to be the final score, before a penalty conceded by Portugal in stoppage time was converted by Cristiana Girelli and saw Italy come out as winners.
New Zealand 1-1 Belgium
It was a lively match-up between the two sides that had to go to penalties to keep them apart. Olivia Chance was first to get on the scoresheet for New Zealand, being played free in the box and finishing above goalkeeper Nicky Evrard. In the 72nd minute, Claudia Bunge was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in the space of three minutes, forcing the New Zealand team play with one player less for the remainder of the game.
Belgium managed to equalise in the 90th minute, courtesy of striker Chloe Velde, which forced the game to penalties. Both teams were flawless in their first five penalties, taking it to sudden death. Belgium’s Laura Deloose hit the post and New Zealand had a chance to win it, only for CJ Bott’s shot to be saved. Sarah Wijnant’s attempt for Belgium was saved, and Daisy Cleverley slotted it home calmly to see New Zealand claim victory.
Denmark 1-2 Norway
It was an intense game between these two Nordic colleagues. Denmark went ahead early on after a fantastic solo effort from Pernille Harder that saw the striker outrun three defenders and slot it in the bottom corner with her left foot.
Norway were not too discouraged by the scoreline though and put good pressure on the Danes, and only minutes later Elise Thorsnes equalised, heading in a cross from Ingrid Moe Wold. Both teams pulled out some good efforts and kept looking for that winning goal, but it was Norway who ultimately had the best chances and forced Denmark’s goalkeeper Katrine Abel to some great saves.
Eventually, Norway were able to find the winner in the 93rd minute as a cross from Kristine Minde found Synne Jensen’s left foot and she took the strike with her first touch as the ball sailed into the net.
In the next set of games, the losers of each game meet each other as Sweden are set to play Denmark and Belgium meet Portugal. In the semifinal, Germany are up against Norway and New Zealand play Italy. The games will be played on the 7th of March.