The Netherlands overcame the loss in the first half by both a goalkeeper and a key defender to come from behind and open their UEFA Women’s EURO title defense with a draw 1-1 group C against Sweden in Sheffield.
22 ‘ Netherlands goalkeeper Van Veenendaal is injured
36 ‘ Andersson strikes for Sweden
52 ‘ Roord acknowledges
Match in brief: Exhausted Dutchmen fought back
The scenes before the match were colorful with thousands traveling from both nations and the orange-clad Dutch people dancing en masse to the stadium just like before their triumphant matches at home five years ago. However, it was an early blow for the owners when goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal was injured in a collision with colleague Stefanie van der Gragt, which meant an unexpected second senior cap and competitive debut for Daphne van Domselaar.
The bench was restless, and with 36 minutes passed fc’s coach gave Kosovare Asllani the opportunity the player had been hoping for. At the other end, Lieke Martens immediately forced Hedvig Lindahl to save but it got worse for the Netherlands. when even defender Aniek Nouwen was forced off by injury.
A first loss ever for the holders in an opening match of a EURO defense for women since the group game was introduced in 1997 seemed to be on the cards. At the start of the second half, however, Jill Roord, fresh from a productive season for both Wolfsburg and the Netherlands, came to the level after a Vivianne Miedema pass was deflected into her path.
Sweden sent on the key striker, and Miedema’s Arsenal attacking partner, Stina Blackstenius, who had not been able to start after an injury recently. But Miedema’s connection to former Gunners teammate Roord almost bore fruit again, only a fantastic Magdalena Eriksson sliding tackle that denied Roord. The final stages were exciting, Van Domselaar made a fantastic diving save from Fridolina Rolfö, and the noise inside Bramall Lane was loud, but the points were shared.
Show Match Player: Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands)
“She showed excellent midfield play all the time and was the focus of the Netherlands’ attack. She linked well to wide forwards and her teammates in midfield and delivered very good passes and lots of elegant touches.”
UEFA’s technical observer panel
Derek Brookman, Dutch reporter
A well-deserved point for Mark Parson’s team after a much improved display in the second half. Just like Sweden in the first half, most of the danger came from the Netherlands along the left wing, with above all Miedema full of intelligent, direct running. The improvised Orange defense also gave a great account of itself. It feels like both of these teams can get far in this tournament.
Alexandra Jonson, Sweden Reporter
During most of the match, Sweden was the better side and you could often see what quality this team possesses, especially on the ball. But too many wrong decisions were made at important moments, which meant that their game never floated perfectly. Peter Gerhardsson’s decision to play three at the back allowed Andersson to be more offensive, which ensured that she both scored and almost set up another. A 1-1 draw is not the end of the world, but Sweden, who have made it clear that they are in England to win this tournament, of course wanted a victory here tonight. There is no need to worry, but the quality is there – only the small details need to be adjusted.
Mark Parsons, the coach of the Netherlands: “The first half was tough but we had some good moments when we played some ball possession. It was not enough, the spaces were big so it meant Viv [Miedema] and others had to run too much. I was quite disappointed with the goal. Second half was better and there will be more. “Not good” is the only thing I can say [about the two injuries]. You have two players in tears who are very proud of what the team did. “
Vivienne Miedema, Dutch striker: “What a match. Of course to lose Sari [van Veenendaal] and Aniek [Nouwen] in the first half was a massive blow. At half-time we knew we could do better, and I’m so proud of the team, how we changed things before the second half. “
Jill Roord, Dutch striker, speaks UEFA.com: “Sweden is obviously a very good team, very powerful, and it’s tough to play against them. In the end, 1-1 is okay for us, and also okay for them. [The injuries] were obviously very unexpected. We had to change goalkeeper, which does not happen often. But Daphne [van Domselaar] was fantastic, and we did very well as a team as well. We did not change anything, we just kept driving hard and in the second half we played well. “
Peter Gerhardsson, Sweden coach: “We forced them to play many long balls, Kosovars [Asllani] did very well in the pressing. And we only had one problem left – Miedema, she is so skilled that we had to double her up. It was also something we needed three midfielders for, to keep her back in goal. But you can not keep [a player that good] gone for 90 minutes and she did a great thing [to create the equaliser]. “
Stina Blackstenius, Sweden striker, speaks UEFA.com: “There are always nerves when you sit on the bench – probably more than if you are on the pitch. It took some time for us to get into the game, there were many throws and the ball was not as much in play as we had hoped. I “I absolutely hope to start against Switzerland. It felt good that the body felt so good today and now there are four days left until the next match so there is time to work on it.”
- Andersson scored only his third Sweden goal in 71 appearances; her second had come in April against Georgia.
- The Netherlands holds the record for never losing their opening match since the group stage was introduced in 1997, making three draws in a row after Germany were held 0-0 by Sweden in 2017 and the Netherlands in 2013.
- With Caroline Seger up against Sherida Spitse, it was the first match ever in a UEFA football competition where two players with over 200 internationals have met.
- The audience of 21,342 is the largest ever for a EURO match for women outside the final where the hosts were not involved – the previous record was set yesterday at Germany against Denmark.
Netherlands: Van Veenendaal (Van Domselaar 22); Wilms, Van de Gragt, Nouwen (Olislagers 41), Janssen; Groenen, Van de Donk (Pelova 78), Spitse; Roord (Beerensteyn 78), Miedema, Martens
Sweden: Lindahl; Ilestedt, Björn, Eriksson; Glas, Angeldal (Bennison 71), Seger, Andersson (Rutting Kaneryd 71); Asllani, Hurtig (Blackstenius 70), Rolfö