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Women's Nations League semi-final report: France pip Germany, Spain defeat Netherlands

France beat Germany 2-1 and Spain defeated the Netherlands 3-0 to reach Wednesday's final.

France celebrate victory
France celebrate victory UEFA via Getty Images

Spain will play France in the first UEFA Women's Nations League final after both came through their last-four ties on Friday.

World champions Spain beat the Netherlands 3-0 in Seville, where they will also stage Wednesday's final. That earns Spain an Olympic debut, while France are into their first major final after holding off Germany 2-1 in Décines.

With France hosting the Olympics, Europe's remaining berth will be decided by the third-place play-off between the Netherlands and Germany in Heerenveen on Wednesday.

Women's Nations League finals

Semi-finals (Friday)
Spain 3-0 Netherlands (La Cartuja de Sevilla Stadium, Seville)
France 2-1 Germany (OL Stadium, Décines)

Final (Wednesday)
Spain vs France (19:00 CET, La Cartuja de Sevilla Stadium, Seville)
Third-place match (Wednesday)
Netherlands vs Germany (20:45 CET, Abe Lenstra Stadium, Heerenveen)

Meet the finalists: Spain vs France

Spain 3-0 Netherlands

Spain 3-0 Netherlands highlights

Spain took the game to the Netherlands early on and in the eighth minute Salma Paralluelo shot just wide. Chances at the other end were scarce but Lineth Beerensteyn, looking to add to her League A-leading six goals, had an effort deflected past the post.

Paralluelo was sent clear midway through the half but Daphne van Domselaar did excellently to block. However, the breakthrough came in the 41st minute, Jenni Hermoso collecting Ona Batlle's pass, jinking past three defenders and producing a left-footed finish.

Just four minutes later it was 2-0, Mariona Caldentey's cross from the left turned in by Aitana Bonmatí. Spain did not let up and the third arrived in the 77th minute, Batlle scrambling the ball in. Spain were able to give a debut to 17-year-old Vicky López as the crowd of 21,856 celebrated.

Aitana Bonmatí celebrates her goal with Salma Paralluelo
Aitana Bonmatí celebrates her goal with Salma ParallueloAFP via Getty Images

Reporter's view: Alexandra Jonson at La Cartuja de Sevilla Stadium
There was never any doubt about it – Spain had this match in their grasp from start to finish. They dictated the speed and the flow of the game, they created the chances and they scored the goals. The Netherlands were never really close to them, even though some strong saves from Van Domselaar in the first half kept them level for a while.

Spain can celebrate another historic milestone, reaching the Olympics for the first time ever. While Andries Jonker’s side will have to recharge, they still have a chance to reach the Olympics if they beat Germany in the third-place match on Wednesday.

Montse Tomé, Spain coach: "We deserve to be in the Olympics, for all those previous teams that fought to get there but couldn't ... for all those who experienced those moments in the mud. Now we have the opportunity to enjoy it with the mixture we have in the team of experienced players and young players. They have all done a great job and we are very satisfied."

Jenni Hermoso, Spain forward: "It was what we had come for. It was another dream to be fulfilled. And today the whole of Spain should be very proud of us, because we have made history again.

"I shouted a lot when I scored, I let out a lot of emotions. It was very important for me. This is something we have dreamed of since we were really small – to play at the Olympics."

Andries Joncker, Netherlands coach: "We did everything we could to play well, but at times we didn't succeed in the first half. Besides, Spain are still better than us. The quality of their positional play is unique in women's football. After half-time they slowed down a bit and we certainly played excellently in spells. I am satisfied."

Sherida Spitse, Netherlands captain: "Spain were simply too good for us today. Defensively, we should have been tighter as a collective. We did not do that well. We did not get into the match and we should have organised ourselves better.

"Spain, who are of course a top country, moved well, which meant we were late everywhere. But anyway, we still have a chance [of reaching the Olympics]. We are very happy with that. We are playing at home with the crowd behind us."

Spain celebrate reaching the final, and their first Olympic women's football tournament
Spain celebrate reaching the final, and their first Olympic women's football tournamentUEFA via Getty Images
Nations League: Promotion-relegation matches

France 2-1 Germany

France 2-1 Germany highlights

The first half was largely tight and Germany had more than their share of chances, Alexandra Popp heading wide and Klara Bühl shooting over. However, Kadidiatou Diani, a constant threat for France, made it 1-0 on 41 minutes with a ferocious half-volley from the edge of the box after a free-kick was only partially cleared.

Just as in Seville, a second goal for the home team followed before half-time. Lena Oberdorf brought down Grace Geyoro in the Germany area and Sakina Karchaoui scored for the first time for France on her 69th appearance, her penalty just eluding the dive of Merle Frohms.

Germany looked to keep up the pressure in the second half, especially from set pieces. The ever-lively Popp struck the crossbar with 18 minutes left with an effort from the edge of the box.

And Germany won a penalty eight minutes from time following an Amandine Henry handball, Giulia Gwinn converting. Pauline Peyraud-Magnin could not keep that one out but she did ensure that France held on to make their debut senior women's final in front of a 30,270 crowd, their best ever at home other than in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Sakina Karchaoui (centre) enjoys her first international goal
Sakina Karchaoui (centre) enjoys her first international goalUEFA via Getty Images

Reporter's view: Vanessa Tomaszewski at OL Stadium
There was plenty of pressure on France, who had never beaten Germany in a competitive match and were still smarting from the painful loss to the same nation in the UEFA Women's EURO 2022 semis – never mind the fact that Les Bleues had never reached a big final.

France responded to the physical challenge of Germany and hit their opponents with two goals at the best possible moment just before half-time. Griedge Mbock Bathy in defence and Peyraud-Magnin in goal kept the visitors at bay until Gwinn's spot kick, but even after that France demonstrated their defensive solidity in front of a delighted crowd to make history.

Hervé Renard, France coach: "The girls had a remarkable first half. They found it more difficult in the second half, undoubtedly due to the German pressure. They played the match that was expected of them, however, and managed to reach the final of a major tournament. Congratulations to them."

Horst Hrubesch, interim Germany coach: "I congratulate France. It wasn't easy for us. In the second half we managed to come back more. We had a lot of corners but a lot of bad luck. Congratulations again to this French team!"

Kadidiatou Diani of France celebrates scoring
Kadidiatou Diani of France celebrates scoringUEFA via Getty Images

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