NETHERLAND: Holders Germany beat Russia 2-0 to set up a women’s Euro quarter-final clash with Denmark while Sweden also advanced to the knockout phase despite losing 3-2 to Italy on Tuesday.
In Utrecht, Babett Peter scored from the spot on 10 minutes and captain Dzsenifer Marozsan converted another penalty in the 56th minute to hand a dominant Germany victory.
Peter converted her second penalty in two games after Daria Makarenko brought down Mandy Islacker in the box, while Marozsan punished Margarita Chernomyrdina’s foul on Sara Dabritz.
In Doetinchem, Daniela Sabatino put Italy ahead on four minutes after Sweden defender Linda Sembrant knocked down a cross for her inside the box.
Lotta Schelin equalised from a penalty following a foul on Stina Blackstenius by Federica Di Criscio, but Sabatino gave Italy the lead again before half-time when she volleyed home a cross from Linda Tucceri Cimini.
Blackstenius equalised for Sweden two minutes after the break, firing in a cross from half-time substitute Fridolina Rolfo, but Cristiana Girelli forced in a cross from Barbara Bonansea five minutes from the end.
Sweden still progressed as runners-up despite the defeat and will face hosts Netherlands for a place in the semi-finals.
Germany put Russia under heavy pressure early on as newcomer Sara Doorsoun-Khajeh tested Russian goalkeeper Tatiana Shcherbak with a long-range blast in the build-up to the penalty.
Bayern Munich midfielder Dabritz had two good chances in the first half but Shcherbak foiled her the first time before she shot narrowly wide of the target.
The 19-year-old Shcherbak also tipped Peter’s header onto the crossbar on half an hour.
In the second half, Anja Mittag flicked the ball just past the post while Marozsan’s volley was repelled by a diving Shcherbak.
Peter said she was happy that Germany had made it to the quarter-finals.
“We are group winners with seven points and that was our goal from the start,” she said.
“We had a lot of chances today. Against Denmark there might be less chances, but we will have to try to convert them then.”
Russian coach Elena Fomina said the game may have been more interesting without the penalties.
“Germany had most of the ball possession and that meant that we were not able to attack and create much danger in front of their goal,” she added.
Sweden were trying to impose themselves, but Italy were more dangerous on the counter-attack, with Bonansea first going close and then seeing her curling strike excellently clawed away by Hedvig Lindahl.
Playing her last international game, Melania Gabbiadini fired into Lindahl and Sabatino then missed with a rebound.
In the second half, Sweden stepped up their pressure, with another half-time substitute Lisa Dahlkvist first having her header cleared off the goalline and then steering a low shot wide.
Sembrant headed wide, while Blackstenius slammed her header into the upright on 78 minutes.
After Girelli’s goal, Sweden were lucky to see Bonansea fail to add a fourth and then have a stoppage-time shot stopped by Lindahl.
“I’m disappointed the way it turned out,” said Sweden coach Pia Sundhage.
“(But) at the end of the day we reached the quarter-final and I’m happy about that,” she said, praising her team for 25 minutes after the break when Rolfo and Dahlkvist breathed life into her team.
Italian coach Antonio Cabrini said Italy could build on the result which he hailed as “a very important victory”.
“I’m happy for the girls because they promised they would give everything on the pitch and they did.”