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Germany and Norway progress
 Women's Football News 5 Sep 2009
 
Germany moved a step closer towards retaining their European title as a 2-1 win over Italy took them into the Euro 2009 semi finals.
 
Inka Grings gave them the lead after four minutes with a low strike from the edge of the area and they sought further goals to press home their advantage, but the Italian defence stood firm to keep themselves in the match.
 
However they were left with a mountain to climb just two minutes into the second half when Simone Laudehr's cross was deflected into the path of Grings who made no mistake from close range, taking the striker to the top of the scoring charts ahead of England's Eniola Aluko.
 
Italy rallied well and pulled themselves back into the game just after the hour, Melania Gabbiadini sliding a pass into the path of Patrizia Panico who drilled home a left foot strike.
 
Grings nearly completed a hat-trick but was denied by Maria Picarelli's save but the match was almost taken to extra time as a late header from Panico brought out a fine stop from Nadine Angerer.
 
Germany's opponents in the semi finals will be Norway, who stunned Sweden with a 3-1 victory in Helsinki.
 
Although the match was not quite the epic of the 2005 semi final in Warrington, once again it was Norway who rose to the occasion and a shot from Elise Thorsnes, which deflected off Stina Segerstrim, gave them the lead five minutes before half time. Anneli Giske duly doubled their lead before the interval from close range after a free kick had cannoned into her path.
 
Sweden pressed after the break with Jessica Landstrom hitting the post but Norway put themselves in an unassailable position on the hour as Cecilie Pedersen burst through on goal and finished confidently for the third goal.
 
Victoria Svensson, Sweden's most capped player, marked her final international by scoring a consolation ten minutes from time but Norway progress to keep their hopes alive of a first title since 1993.

 
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