Belgium beats Italy to reach Euro 2022 quarterfinals
MANCHESTER, England (AP) — Belgium reached the quarterfinals of the Women’s European Championship for the first time after a 1-0 upset win over Italy also eliminated Iceland on Monday.
Midfielder Tine de Caigny scored in the 49th minute and Belgium clung on to win. After the final whistle, Belgium had to wait for confirmation as Iceland drew with already-qualified France 1-1 after 12 minutes of added time.
That sets up a quarterfinal for Belgium against Sweden on Friday.
France was already assured of winning the group and plays the defending champion Netherlands on Saturday.
After a cagey first half, de Caigny brought the game to life. Italy repeatedly failed to clear the ball from a free kick and de Caigny hit a powerful shot from just inside the penalty area.
Italy had plenty of chances as striker and captain Cristiana Girelli cannoned a shot off the underside of the crossbar shortly after de Caigny’s goal, and substitute Valentina Giacinti hit a shot which deflected just wide of the post.
Belgium captain Tessa Wullaert cracked a shot against the post in stoppage time.
Iceland scored a penalty with the last kick of the game in the 12th minute of added time for the draw. The referee blew for the end of the game, denying Iceland the chance to seek a winning goal to qualify.
France gave time to fringe players against Iceland but still took the lead with Melvine Malard’s goal 43 seconds into the game, the quickest of the tournament so far.
France twice celebrated being 2-0 ahead before having goals ruled out on video review. A second for Malard was found to be offside, and Grace Geyoro was found to have handballed before scoring in the 88th.
Iceland would have qualified with a win over France, but it could have reached the quarterfinals with a draw or even a loss if Italy had leveled against Belgium, depending on the tie-breaker of yellow and red cards.
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