European champions Netherlands fired in an stoppage-time winner against New Zealand in their opening tie of the FIFA Women’s World Cup match in France.
The Oranje as they are popularly known in the Football fraternity are synonymous with their football around the world. They enter the 2019 World Cup as European champions.
Playing in a 4-3-3 formation with their Captain Sari van Veenendaal in the Dutch goal
Tom Sermanni’s New Zealand are ranked 19 in the FIFA World Rankings and in search of their first World Cup win in their fifth tournament appearance. The Kiwis opted for 4-5-1 formation with Sarah Gregorius in the attack
Netherlands beat New Zealand in the previous World Cups and therefore the Kiwis might just keep their guard high and look to find their first ever World Cup win.
First Half of Netherlands vs New Zealand:
The Dutch began the fixture as firm favorites agaisnt the Kiwis with more than 10,000 fans packed in for the the Group E match at the Stade Océane, Le Havre.
While the Dutch started dictating the pace from beginning, surprisingly New Zealand came closest to breaking the deadlock when Olivia Chance shot struck the bar early in the first half.
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Dutch goal machine Vivianne Miedema who plays for Arsenal in England was denied an opportunity for a hat-trick as the New Zealand defense was well organized to thwart the Dutch attack
The Dutch dominated possession and attack was credited mainly to the trio of Lieke Martens who plays for Barca in the Spanish League along with Lyon’s Shanice van de Sanden and Vivianne Miedema of Arsenal. The three created chances in midffield and attack but were unable to find the opener in the first half
Second Half of Netherlands vs New Zealand:
The Dutch begin the second half in exactly the same manner as they controlled the first 45 minutes. Their relentless attacks search for the goal that can win this opening tie.
Miedema attacks the Ball from the left side of the penalty area and gets past her marker. Her first time shot on goal just misses the upright.
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66th minutes of play and dutch right full back Van Luntren overlaps into the New Zealand penalty area to minus the ball to Miedema. He first time shot is saved only by the super reflexes of the Kiwi keeper Nayler. Brilliant save.
76th minute substitution sees Jill Roord replace Jackie Groenen for the Dutch. 5 minutes of added time on the clock after the 90 minutes of regulation time had lapsed and a Beerenstein effort finds Roord on the far post. The Arsenal striker heads the ball from handshaking distance into the New Zealand goal and beyond Nayler. Both substitutes combining well to give the Dutch a well deserved win. Netherlands 1-0 New Zealand
Brazilian Referee Edina Alves Batista blows the final whistle and its heart break for New Zealand who defended so well but there is surely a big party celebration for the Oranje.
The one goal win against the Black Caps puts Netherlands on top of Group E but level with Canada. Both teams have three points and One goal scored to their credit. Canada had overcome a fighting Cameroon yesterday.
Player of the Match
Dutch striker Lieke Martens was named the Player of the Match for her versatile attacking play both in midfield, wing and attack. The Barcelona player was also FIFA Best Women’s Player of 2017.