The Netherlands 4-2 Denmark

Women’s European Championship Final, De Grolsch Veste (Arke Stadion,) Enschede, 6/8/17.

This was a great watch – certainly in the first half. Attacking football, end-to-end stuff, four goals, lead changing hands, two equalisers.

The Netherlands had the best of the opening exchanges but Denmark had shown intent before the penalty with which they took the lead, Afghan refugee Nadim putting it away with aparently no nerves.

The main Dutch ploy in the early stages was to exploit De Sanden’s pace down the right which led directly to their equaliser, her pinpoint cross converted by Miedema. Martens then made a goal out of nothing by running across the defence and turning it back against the goalkeeper’s expectation. The keeper maybe still ought to have made the save though.

Denmark’s equaliser was a supreme example of a forward making a goal for herself. Harder bent her offside beating run beautifully, staying in her own half till the pass was played before running half the length of the pitch, cutting across the defender and clipping the ball back between her opponent’s legs into the near corner.

It had been a breathless first half.

It couldn’t continue. Things settled to a slightly slower pace in the second.

The Dutch got themselves in front via a free kick given away too cheaply and the goalkeeper’s mistaken anticipation of where Spitse would place the ball. From there Denmark huffed and puffed, even hitting the frame of the goal, but never looked composed enough to take it away from Holland. The writing was on the wall when they threw a centre half up front and they duly paid the price as Miedema more or less replicated the latter movement Harder had made for her goal.

Some iffy goalkeeping apart this was a great advert for women’s football. (Iffy goalkeeping is not unknown in the men’s game too.)

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