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Netherlands beat Scotland to play-off final

Netherlands 2-0 Scotland (agg: 4-1)
Lieke Martens and Manon Melis got the goals to take the Netherlands into the play-off final against Italy.

Lieke Martens opened the scoring in both legs
Lieke Martens opened the scoring in both legs ©Sportsfile

The Netherlands built on their first-leg advantage to progress to the FIFA Women's World Cup play-off final against Italy.

Having put the Netherlands ahead in Scotland on Saturday, Lieke Martens struck first again tonight. And just as at the weekend Manon Melis added a second to leave the Netherlands within one two-legged tie of a debut World Cup finals.

In the first half the Netherlands were content to let Scotland have the ball and hit them on the counterattack, though found Ifeoma Dieke, winning her 100th cap, a rock in defence. The visitors, needing two goals to keep alive their hopes of a first major tournament appearance, created the best chances, notably 13-goal qualifying joint-top scorer Jane Ross dribbling into the box but shooting straight at Loes Geurts.

After the interval the Netherlands started to apply more pressure of their own and within six minutes it resulted in a goal as Martens shot in from the edge of the box following a fine ball from Danielle van de Donk. Scotland still knew two goals would force extra time and Kim Little was a particular threat, troubling the Dutch defence with the ball at her feet.

However, with 13 minutes left Scotland's third play-off defeat in four qualification attempts was confirmed, the pacy Melis pouncing on a loose ball and shooting past Gemma Fay.

Roger Reijners's Netherlands now face their first-ever competitive meetings with Italy on 22/23 and 26/27 November for Europe's last finals spot in Canada. The Netherlands are at home in the first leg.

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