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Netherlands Sets Up France Quarterfinal With Nail-Biting Elimination Of Switzerland

The Netherlands, after playing with fire and group stage elimination at Euro 2022, reeled off three goals in the final minutes to turn a precarious 1-1 scoreline against Switzerland into an emphatic victory on Sunday, although the reward of passage to the quarterfinals is sobered by the fact that it's France lying in wait.

Playing again without star striker Vivianne Miedema — who was still experiencing Covid symptoms — the Dutch looked much less than the sum of their parts against a stubborn Swiss defense that threatened on the attack through the dazzling feet of Ramona Bachmann.

Despite still boasting Lieke Martens, Daniëlle van de Donk and Jill Roord in attack, the Oranje looked a shadow of the side that'd won the competition in 2017 before finishing runner-up at the last World Cup. All-action midfielder Sherida Spitse was the team's standout player, and the Dutch's quality throughout the park still looked to be enough to see them to at least a draw and the runners-up spot in Group C with the Swiss needing all three points to advance.

Qualification looked certain in the 49th-minute after Switzerland's Ana-Maria Crnogorčević planted a clearing header inside her own net. However, just four minutes later the Swiss were level after Bachmann created for Géraldine Reuteler.

Switzerland now just needed one more to go through at the expense of the Dutch, and it should've arrived soon after with Bachmann setting up Coumba Sow with a glorious opportunity that wasn't taken.

Netherlands manager Mark Parsons had seen enough and brought on 23-year-old Victoria Pelova, 18-year-old Esmee Brugts and 21-year-old Romée Leuchter for the experienced trio of Roord, Martens and Lineth Beerensteyn, and that was the impetus for a dramatic Dutch turnaround.

Leuchter scored a late brace (her first two international goals on her fifth cap) and Pelova scored one and created another to allow the Oranje faithful at Bramall Lane in Sheffield to breathe easy.  

However, with Sweden demolishing Portugal 5-0, the Swedes clinched top spot in Group C and will play one of Italy, Belgium or Iceland in the quarters.

The Netherlands gets Group D winner France on July 23 with questions over Miedema's status, as well as the best way to hurt Les Bleues given the emerging form of the team's young attackers and the struggles of players like Martens.

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