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2019-06-26 00:25:16

RENNES, France (AP) - Lieke Martens scored her second goal on a late penalty kick to send the Netherlands into the quarterfinals of the Women’s World Cup for the first time with a 2-1 victory over 2015 finalist Japan on Tuesday.

The new handball law led to referee Melissa Borjas awarding the penalty because Saki Kumagai’s hand blocked Vivianne Miedema’s shot, even though there was no clear intention.

Martens scored from the spot to set up a meeting with Italy on Saturday.

As befitting a meeting of the Asian and European champions, the game produced some of the slickest action of the World Cup. An audacious backheel flick set up Martens to send the Dutch in front in the 17th minute and Yui Hasegawa equalized in the 43rd to complete a slick passing move.

With the last Asian team eliminated, the Women’s World Cup will have a record seven European teams in the quarterfinals. Norway and England meet in Le Havre on Thursday and France takes on the United States the following night. After the Netherlands plays Italy on Saturday, Germany and Sweden will meet.

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washingtontimes.com Rob Harris
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