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Norway are through to Sunday's UEFA Women's EURO 2013 final against Germany after goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth rose to the occasion and ended Denmark's hopes on penalties.
A third-minute Marit Christensen goal seemed to have won it but with time running out Mariann Knudsen headed Denmark level. Despite dominating extra time, Denmark faced penalties just as they had 72 hours earlier against France, but this time Norway prevailed. The two-time champions will meet Germany for the fourth time in a final, hoping to avenge their reverses of 1989, 1991 and 2005.
Norway were unchanged from their comfortable 3-1 quarter-final defeat of Spain in Kalmar — where they played all their four previous fixtures — but the transfer to Norrkoping clearly did not affect them. Three minutes in, Ingvild Stensland took a corner from the left which swung beyond Stina Petersen and was turned in by the chest of Christensen.
Soon after, another Stensland corner gave Solveig Gulbrandsen a free header, straight at Petersen, but Denmark regrouped and Pernille Harder tested Hjelmseth with a long-range effort. Aiming for a first ever final, Denmark were anchored in midfield by Katrine Søndergaard Pedersen, winning her 210th cap and starting against Stabæk IF club-mates Hjelmseth, Toril Akerhaugen, Trine Rønning, Stensland and Caroline Hansen — one of the 36-year-old's pupils as a teacher in Oslo.
Denmark were threatening with the wing play of Katrine Veje and Julie Rydahl but Norway have defended well in this tournament and nearly doubled the lead when Ada Hegerberg hit the top of the crossbar.
Denmark did force an opening early in the second half when Rydahl headed back and Knudsen rolled a shot just past the far post. But as they pressed there was room for Gulbrandsen to break and feed Hansen who was denied one-on-one by Petersen.
Still Denmark pressed and Knudsen headed wide while at the other end Elise Thorsnes missed the target. Denmark's chance seemed to have gone when Veje's shot on the turn was excellently saved by Hjelmseth, but with four minutes left a long Pedersen free-kick was flicked on and Knudsen buried her header.
For the second time in 72 hours, Denmark entered extra time, but they were making all the running, especially the tireless Veje. A quick passing move from Norway did get through the defence but Petersen dived to stop Thorsnes's finish.
Despite Denmark's pressure, it was penalties for them again. However, Hjelmseth saved Denmark's first two efforts from Line Røddik and Theresa Nielsen (also denied on Monday), and Norway's four efforts were faultless, the evergreen Rønning clinching victory coolly. Now Even Pellerud's side will now bid to repeat their 1-0 win against Germany in the group stage in the Friends Arena rematch.
Player of the match: Marit Fiane Christensen (Norway)
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