Minus their document scorer, the Netherlands as a substitute mustered a beautiful aim. The difficulty for the holders was that it was required to earn them victory in opposition to the match’s final underdogs. The possibilities are that absent Vivianne Miedema, who was dominated out by Covid, would have admired Danielle van de Donk’s spectacular decider. Perhaps it took one thing particular to defeat a spirited Portuguese aspect however, whereas they’ve appeared luckless amid accidents and sickness, the Netherlands’ defence of their title has been unconvincing thus far. And, certainly, their defence was unconvincing as Portugal mounted a second comeback in as many video games.
This contained an excessive amount of drama for the Netherlands’ liking, however it was proof of Portugal’s irrepressible streak. Late additions to the match, when Russia have been expelled, they’re changing into one of many tales of it. As soon as once more, they went 2-0 down and responded to attract stage. This time, nonetheless, it was not sufficient to earn them a degree and so they might want to beat Sweden to keep away from an early exit whereas the Dutch have one foot within the quarter-finals. They might nonetheless envy their former supervisor, Sarina Wiegman, who has twin wins together with an 8-0 thrashing thus far. Her successor, Mark Parsons, had an altogether nervier night as his aspect threatened to pay for his or her profligacy and defensive shortcomings.
In mitigation, he has misplaced 4 key gamers, being pressured to make adjustments in assault, midfield, defence and in aim with Miedema and Jackie Groenen lacking whereas centre-back Aniek Nouwen was injured of their draw in opposition to Sweden, and goalkeeper and captain Sari van Veenendaal was dominated out of the competitors. Parsons’s plans have been topic to a speedy rethink and one among his adjustments introduced early vindication when Damaris Egurrola marked her first begin for her nation with the opening aim.
She rose highest to go in Sherida Spitse’s nook on an evening when Portugal had causes to rue their incapability to defend corners. The stand-in skipper Spitse took them expertly and so they produced two targets and virtually a 3rd. The second stemmed from the bravery of Stefanie van der Gragt, who took a kick to her face as she plunged ahead to go in Van de Donk’s shot. Then Van der Gragt generated loads of energy on a header just for Carole Costa to clear off the road.
It fashioned the primary in a uncommon hat-trick of essential contributions by Costa, who additionally ended with a aim and an help. However whereas the Dutch have been dominant at that time, with Miedema’s substitute Lineth Beerensteyn relentless as she made a collection of forceful runs, they’d nonetheless weathered a few early alarms. Inside the first 4 minutes, Tatiana Pinto was left unmarked to shoot, with Daphne van Domselaar tipping her effort over, and the offside Ana Borges had a aim disallowed.
If Portugal had a very distinguished fan membership, with the Manchester Metropolis trio of Bernardo Silva, Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo lending assist from Leigh’s model of the luxury seats, their compatriots gave them a lot to cheer. They produced an enterprising show, with the excellent Jessica Silva showcasing velocity and ability; a rabona drew specific cheers from the vocal Portugal followers.
The shock, maybe, was that their targets didn’t contain her, although her namesake Diana Silva was pivotal in each. She was tripped by Dominique Janssen, an offence referee Ivana Martincic initially missed. A VAR intervention later and Costa was in a position to slot within the penalty.
Then Portugal made an outstanding begin to the second half. Some 30 seconds in, Pinto had a header effectively saved by Van Domselaar. Portugal nonetheless drew stage instantly after, Costa crossing for Diana Silva to plant an emphatic header in and the Netherlands, who solely conceded three targets in profitable Euro 2017, had already conceded three in Euro 2022.
It appeared as if Jill Roord had drilled the Dutch again forward, just for a scientific end to be chalked off for a marginal offside after an interminable VAR delay. As a substitute, their lead was restored in memorable style, with Van de Donk’s 25-yard effort. It was a worthy winner, however whether or not or not it proves the aim of the match, the Dutch may have extra solidity to be the crew of it.
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