Euro 2022: The Netherlands pick up their first victory beating Portugal 3-2
The Netherlands picked up their first win of their Euro 2022 campaign with an exciting 3-2 victory over Portugal in Wigan & Leigh, England. Goals from Damaris Egurrola, Stefanie van der Gragt, and Danielle van de Donk were enough to beat the Portuguese. The result puts the Netherlands at the top of their group.
Both teams drew their first matches at the tournament 1-1. The Netherlands drew to Sweden while Portugal drew their first game with Switzerland. Portugal did not initially qualify for this edition of the European Championship. They were given the place that Russia had secured, but that country was excluded from the tournament due to its invasion of Ukraine.
The Netherlands was dealing with a crisis of sorts for the match, with Sari van Veenendaal, Aniek Nouwen, Jackie Groenen, and Vivianne Miedema all missing the game due to injuries or a coronavirus infection. Before the match, the Dutch women’s national team coach, Mark Parsons, said of the injuries, “Have I ever been so unlucky in one year? No."
The Netherlands won six out of the seven matches in which they had faced Portugal before this match, and those watching the first half-hour could see why. After surviving an early scare when a Portugal goal was disallowed for offside, Oranje took the lead after only six minutes when a corner from Sherida Spitse was headed into the net by Damaris Egurrola.
It was from another corner by Spitse that the Netherlands doubled their lead after 16 minutes. Portugal failed to clear the ball, and the mistake was punished by defender Stefanie van der Gragt who headed a ball into the corner, taking a kick to the face in the process.
Portugal continued to struggle with the aerial prowess of the Netherlands, especially from corners, as Van der Gragt nearly got her second goal of the game, but this time Carole Costa was on hand to clear the ball off the line.
Portugal got a goal back against the run of play after 37 minutes. Dominique Janssen was judged to have fouled opponent Diana Silva after a lengthy VAR check from referee Ivana Martincic. Carole Costa dispatched the resulting penalty sending Dutch goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar the wrong way.
The 6,966 people at the Leigh Sports Village stadium should have been pleased with the exciting first half, as the Netherlands went into half time with a 2-1 lead.
Portugal came out for the second half much sharper, almost scoring with their first attack. Van Domselaar made an acrobatic save to keep out a header from midfielder Tatiana Pinto. However, the joy was short-lived for Van Domselaar, as Portugal equalized a minute later. Again it was Carole Costa making the difference when her cross was headed in by Diana Silva to put the game level.
The Netherlands thought they had retaken the lead three minutes later thanks to Jill Roord, but the goal was disallowed after another lengthy VAR check.
However, there was no doubt about the goal the Netherlands scored next. Danielle van de Donk found herself in space on the edge of the area and took full advantage with a powerful strike into the top corner.
"After I scored, everybody was on top of me shouting you really deserve this. That means so much more to me than scoring a nice goal," Van de Donk said after the match. She wants to see her team continue to dominate, instead of securing an early lead only to give it away. "If we score one more at 2-0 then you are basically safe. We make it so hard on ourselves, and we don't have to do that"
Portugal kept pushing during the final half-hour, but it never led to any real moments of danger for the Netherlands. Oranje now stands top of their group on goal difference, after Sweden beat Switzerland by a score of 2-1 earlier in the evening.
In Sheffield, the Leeuwinnen will face Switzerland in their last group game on Sunday evening. Switzerland are bottom of the group as it stands, with Portugal staying in Wigan & Leigh to face Sweden.