With thousands of fans to impress, the Netherlands left manager Mark Parsons disappointed after conceding a goal against Sweden early in their European Women’s Championship title defence.
It took Jill Roord’s goal at the turn in the 52nd minute to cancel out Jonna Andersson’s goal – just her third in 51 appearances – for the Swedish winger to recover the Netherlands’ 1-1 draw in Group C on Saturday.
“It was tough, but we had some good moments when we played some possession,” Parsons said. It wasn’t enough, the spaces were big, which meant that Viv (Miedema) and others had to run too much. I was quite disappointed by the goal.
Improvement will be needed quickly with a meeting on Wednesday with Portugal, who recovered from conceding two goals in the first five minutes against Switzerland before coming from behind in the second half to draw 2-2.
The Dutch will assess the injuries that hampered the clash with Sweden, with goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal and defender Aniek Nouwen sent off.
Van Veenendaal crushed defenders Stefanie van der Gragt and Lynn Wilms while defending a free kick. The whistle ended Sweden’s ongoing attack with concern for Van der Gragt in particular. Van Veenendaal received care afterwards and was sent off about 10 minutes later.
Lieke Martens and Roord failed to threaten long-range efforts for the Netherlands before Sweden took the lead when Kosovare Asllani beat Nouwen and his low cross was finished off by Andersson.
Lina Hurtig headed Andersson’s cross wide under pressure from Nouwen, who was injured in the process and was replaced by Marisa Olislagers.
Sweden missed chances to extend the lead before Roord scored eight goals in as many internationals.
Vivianne Miedem created the best chance for a Dutch winner, feeding into her former Arsenal team-mate Roord, whose hesitation allowed Magdalena Eriksson to make a save tackle.
The crowd at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane of 21,342 was the largest ever for a Women’s European Championship game not involving a host nation.
There were 5,902 fans at the stadium in the city of Leigh, in north-west England, where Portugal drew with Switzerland.
Portugal’s recovery began in the 58th minute with Diana Gomes, who found the rebound after her first header from a corner was stopped by goalkeeper Galle Thalmann.
The equalizer was scored by Jssica Silva in the 65th minute from a Tatiana Pinto cross, ensuring that the first Swiss goals from Coumba Sow and Rahel Kiwic were disallowed.
This is Portugal, a Portugal with a soul, with a fighting spirit, said Silva.
The bravery shown was fantastic, but unfortunately we couldn’t score more.”
Portugal coach Francisco Neto was delighted with the maturity displayed by his players, who secured a place in the 16-team tournament only after Russia was sanctioned for invading Ukraine.
Today was proof of our growth as a team,” Neto said. “Maybe a few years ago we would have panicked and conceded more goals and that didn’t happen today. Still trailing 2-0, the team stayed calm, tried to reorganize, communicated and grew. That was the reason why we were competitive until the end.
Portugal also play the Netherlands at Leigh on Wednesday.
If we play like we did in the second half, of course we can compete with them”, Silva said. In the first minutes we were a bit anxious but we reacted well, we showed that we are a super competitive Portugal that can match any team
Group D begins on Sunday when France play Italy in Rotherham and Belgium take on Iceland in Manchester.
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