France found almost every possible way to not score in this one
France did nearly everything right in their Euro 2022 quarterfinal against the Netherlands, dominating nearly from start to finish and creating what felt like endless chances. Despite there being two star-packed lineups on display, only one team ever looked like winning it.
And yet, France nearly let this one get away from them. Ève Périsset’s extra time penalty kick, on a foul that was not initially called, was their only goal in a game where it felt like they could generate good scoring chances virtually at will.
Despite the Dutch actually getting to halftime with a virtually dead-even split of possession, it felt like France had set up shop in their end. Delphine Cascarino hit the post, while Sandie Toletti fired well over an open net midway through the half.
The halftime expected goals totals told the story, with the Dutch barely registering at all while France posted what would be a respectable total for a full 90 minutes.
Stefanie van der Gragt blocked two different shots on the line (one from Melvine Malard, and another from Grace Geyoro just seven minutes later) along with a series of last-ditch tackles while appearing to play most of the game in some state of pain.
The Netherlands made some savvy changes at halftime and seemed more able to compete, but within about 15 minutes France began to solve the problems the Dutch presented, and the game drifted back towards its offense vs. defense vibe.
France seemed likely to capitalize on a set piece, with the ball floating towards Griedge Mbock Bathy only for van der Gragt to somehow intervene again. Geyoro, in her very last action of the match and with the goal wide open for her, nodded a point-blank chance to the wrong side of the post.
Daphne van Domselaar—in just her fifth international appearance—made progressively better saves, forcing extra time by defying physics to somehow claw yet another Wendie Renard header away in the third minute of second-half stoppage time.
Renard had the appropriate reaction to this: a glance at the heavens followed by a rueful chuckle.
France didn’t initially get a penalty kick in extra time when Dominique Janssen took Kadidiatou Diani down in the box, but VAR finally decided to take mercy on them. Still, there was tension: their normal penalty taker, Renard, had missed earlier in the tournament against Belgium (and had an even worse miss from the resulting rebound).
Périsset ended up getting the nod instead, but van Domselaar still had a scare for France. The FC Twente goalkeeper got a glove to the ball and causing a split-second of panic before the penalty tucked into the bottom corner.
The final stats from UEFA credited France with 33 shots to just nine for the Netherlands, and if anything it felt like those numbers should be further apart. Nevertheless, France finally advanced past the quarterfinals, which it had never done before. They’ll face Germany this Wednesday, July 27, at Stadium MK.