Netherlands midfielder Jackie Groenen competes for the ball with Hina Sugita of Japan.

Women's World Cup: Groenen helps Dutch reach last eight

Jackie Groenen helped the Netherlands become the final nation to qualify for the Women's World Cup quarter-finals in France.

The midfielder, who has signed a pre-contract agreement to join Manchester United Women this summer, played the full game as her country saw off Japan with a dramatic 2-1 win on Tuesday night. 

The European champions needed a 90th-minute penalty from Lieke Martens to emerge victorious in Rennes in the final last-16 tie and knock out the Asian champions, who won the tournament in 2011 and were runners-up in 2015.

Martens stayed calm under immense pressure to send Ayaka Yamashita the wrong way, and score her second goal of a game in which Japan had the better chances and controlled for long periods.  

A sublime chip from Yui Hasegawa two minutes before half-time cancelled out a clever flick from Martens which opened the scoring for the Netherlands on 17 minutes at Roazhon Park. 

Jackie Groenen celebrates with Netherlands goalscorer Lieke Martens after her first goal against Japan.
Jackie Groenen celebrates with the Netherlands' two-goal hero Lieke Martens.

HOW DID GROENEN DO? 

She had a quiet game in general but was effective in midfield alongside Arsenal’s Danielle van de Donk and Sherida Spitse, who could come up against Groenen when United Women face her club Valerenga in a friendly in Norway on 31 July. 

Jackie was on the receiving end of a robust challenge from Japan’s Narumi Miura midway through the second half, which left her in discomfort, but she quickly recovered. 

She has now been selected to start in all four games at the tournament by coach Sarina Wiegman, missing just 14 minutes of action when replaced in the opening group game against New Zealand. 

The 24-year-old will hope to keep her place when the Netherlands face Italy, who beat China 2-0 earlier on Tuesday, at the Stade du Hainaut in Valenciennes on Saturday in their quarter-final clash (kick-off 14:00 BST). 

Meanwhile, Groenen’s United team-mates Alex Greenwood and Abbie McManus could be in action for England against Norway on Thursday in the first last-eight tie. Kick-off in Le Havre is at 20:00 BST. 

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