Perhaps it wasn’t a miracle as much as it was a sports miracle, but it never gets old, and not because it’s the United States doing it. If any team had this penchant for the dramatic, we would be enthralled. We’re a U.S.-based blog writing for mostly U.S.-based readers, so a lot of what you see in the comments and linked-to content might transcend enthralled and embrace enamored. For the rest of the world, there’s still plenty to love about a team that engineered three comebacks and capped off a semifinal victory with a 123rd minute game-winner.
After the game, U.S. Soccer’s Studio 90 caught up with three of Monday’s key players: Heather O’Reilly, Megan Rapinoe, and Abby Wambach. The trio talk about the team’s undying confidence, the goals that pushed them to the final, and their respect for a rival that upped that took their game to a new level:
That leaves eight third-place teams to battle for the final four spots through a play-off. The draw for the matchups will take place on October 18, and those matches will be held from November 12-17 as a home-and-home play-off.
Turkey (automatically qualified as best third-place side)
The group stage of qualifying for the 2016 European Championship has come to a close, and one of the top teams in the world will not be playing in France next summer.
Netherlands 2-3 Czech Republic
The Netherlands finished second at the 2010 World Cup and third at the 2014 World Cup, but have failed to qualify for EURO 2016. Playing in front of a home crowd in a must-win match against the Czech Republic, the Dutch got off to a dreadful start, falling behind 2-0 as manager Danny Blind was forced to make a substitution within the opening 40 minutes. The Czech Republic was sent to ten men before the break, but an own-goal from Robin Van Persie made it 3-0 as the Dutch couldn’t recover. A disastrous result for the Netherlands, as big changes will surely come from the top down.
Italy finishes atop Group H without a loss after defeating Norway 2-1 today. Norway took the lead through Norwich City’s Alexander Tettey, but late goals from Alessandro Florenzi and Southampton’s Graziano Pelle gave the Italians all three points.
Malta 0-1 Croatia
With Norway’s loss, Croatia jumped into second place in Group H and secured qualification to EURO 2016 with a 1-0 win away at Malta. Inter Milan’s Ivan Perisic scored the game’s only goal, as Croatia advances despite having one point deducted due to inappropriate actions from their fans.
Elsewhere in EURO qualifying
Turkey 1-0 Iceland
Latvia 0-1 Kazakhstan
Belgium 3-1 Israel
Wales 2-0 Andorra
Cyprus 2-3 Bosnia and Herzegovina