Match report: Netherlands kick off Euro 2017 with a win.
Host nation the Netherlands kicked off Uefa women’s Euro 2017 with a 1-0 victory over Norway thanks to a goal from Liverpool’s Shanice Van de Sanden.
It was the Dutch who started the brighter and could have scored inside 30 seconds but Ingrid Hjelmseth kept out a low shot from Arsenal’s Danielle van de Donk.
Norway could have been level on 7 minutes as Caroline Graham Hansen let fly but her shot was well blocked by Mandy Van den Berg. It was the Netherlands who were inches away from taking the lead on 14 minutes as Vivianne Miedema played in Lieke Martens before her stinging strike was saved by Hjelmseth.
On 17 minutes it was the Norwegian’s who were unlucky not be ahead when Hansen hit a sweet left footed shot that was turned away by Arsenal’s number one Sari van Veenendaal low to her left. Miedema should have put the hosts into the lead on 24 minutes as Jackie Groenen whipped in a delightful cross only for the forward to head wide.
A minute later Miedema had another opening as Sherida Spitse played a defence splitting ball into the 20-year-old striker but she fired over the crossbar. Van de Donk then thought she put her side ahead as the Netherlands started to take control as she got onto the end of a Martens cross but she could only direct her header at Hjelmseh.
Van Veenendall was then called into action on 40 minutes as she made a smart save from Maren Mjelde as her free-kick was set for the bottom right hand corner. On the stroke of half-time Martens who has just signed for Barcelona played in Spitse but her effort was tipped away by the Norway keeper.
The second half started the way the first had ended with the Netherlands on top when once again Spitse and Martens linking up this time the latter was played in on goal but she saw her powerful drive well saved by Hjelmseth.
Hjelseth was putting in a great performance as the Norwegian goal was living a dangerous life as Miedema was played through but she hooked her shot wide as Martens played in yet another through ball.
As the hosts kept attacking they should have been ahead on 59 minutes as Van de Sanden crossed for Miedema who fired wide of the target with her right foot.
It was all one-way traffic as the Orange shirts piled forward and created another opening on 64 minutes as Martens cracked a low shot from just outside the area wide of the target after a pullback from Spitse.
However, the Dutch finally grabbed their goal as Martens whipped in a sensational cross for Van de Sanden to bullet a header into the net out of the reach of the despairing dive of Hjelseth.
— WomensSoccerUnited (@WSUasa) 16 July 2017
As Norway pushed forward frantically attempting to grab an equaliser the Netherlands broke forward with the impressive Miedema but her effort was once again saved by the superb Norway stopper.
As the game neared its close Martens thought she had doubled her sides lead as her strike was well blocked by Guro Reiten at the final attempt. The final chance of note came on 85 minutes as Desiree Van Lunteren curled her effort just wide of the post from just outside the box.
Hi my names Josh Bunting I study Sports Journalism at UCFB Etihad Campus , Reporter at Sheffield Wednesday football club.