Norway defeat Denmark in shootout to make final

SAFE PAIR OF HANDS::Goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth was the hero for Norway, saving Denmark’s first two penalty-kicks from Line Roddik and Theresa Nielsen

Reuters, NORRKOPING, Sweden

Sat, Jul 27, 2013 - Page 18

Norway will face holders Germany in the final of UEFA Women’s Euro 2013 after beating Nordic neighbors Denmark 4-2 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in their semi-final on Thursday.

Norway stunned Denmark by scoring from the first corner of the game in Norrkoping, Sweden, Ingvild Stensland’s ball into the area brushing off Marit Christensen and ending up in the back of the net after just three minutes.

However, Denmark, who only made the knockout round at the expense of Russia after a drawing of lots with the two countries having finished the group stage level on two points, gradually gained the upper hand in a tight game.

Despite Denmark’s burgeoning dominance, Norway countered quickly when given the chance and Ada Hegerberg shaved the top of the crossbar on the half-hour mark.

Denmark enjoyed long periods of possession in the second half, but with the Norway defense funneling most of their attacks infield, Denmark had difficulty turning that into chances.

Norway looked to be heading for the final until Denmark snatched an equalizer in the 87th minute, Mariann Knudsen heading in Pernille Harder’s flick-on from a free-kick.

That goal was enough to send the game to extra-time, but despite dominating throughout, Denmark failed to fashion a winner, which cost them dearly as the game went to penalties.

Goalkeeper Ingrid Hjelmseth was the hero for Norway, saving Denmark’s first two spot-kicks from Line Roddik and Theresa Nielsen. All four of Norway’s efforts were successful, with Trine Ronning taking the final kick to put them into the final.

Germany beat hosts Sweden 1-0 in Gothenburg, Sweden, on Wednesday to book their place in the final, which is being played at the Friends Arena in Stockholm tomorrow.