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Late World Cup drama as Dutch set up Italy showdown

The ongoing controversy surrounding the handball rule at the Women's World Cup continued as the Netherlands were awarded a contentious late penalty to beat Japan and secure the final spot in the quarter-finals.

Lieke Martens scored her second goal of the game to secure a 2-1 victory over the 2015 runners-up after it was adjudged that Japan captain Saki Kumagai had blocked a shot with her arm.

Agony and ecstasy: Dutch players celebrate their win as their Japanese counterparts are sent crashing out of the World Cup.

Agony and ecstasy: Dutch players celebrate their win as their Japanese counterparts are sent crashing out of the World Cup.Credit:AP

The Dutch advanced to the last eight and a meeting with Italy, who earlier eased past China 2-0 in Montpellier.

Yui Hasegawa had pulled Japan level on 43 minutes with a neat clipped finish after Martens' opener on 17 minutes, her clever backheel flick from a corner finding a way into the corner of the goal after a deflection.

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Both sides created further chances in the second half at Roazhon Park as an even contest appeared set for extra-time.

It was Japan who looked like finishing the game stronger, Hasegawa firing inches wide, Mana Iwabuchi hitting the side netting and Hina Sugita hitting the crossbar.

Saki Kumagai is consoled by Shanice van de Sanden after the final whistle.

Saki Kumagai is consoled by Shanice van de Sanden after the final whistle.Credit:AP

However, with two minutes remaining, Miedema's shot hit Kumagai on the arm, which was down by her side, and referee Melissa Borjas pointed to the spot.

Martens kept her composure to convert from 12 yards.

Even then, Japan pushed for a second equaliser as a goalmouth scramble was cleared by the Dutch, who held on to progress.

Earlier, Italy had sealed their first appearance in the quarter-finals since 1991 courtesyRead More – Source

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