FINAL: Germany 0 – Netherlands 0
The Netherlands stayed even with the heavily favored Germans at Växjö Arena, Vaxjo in front of 8,861 fans to result in the fourth and most surprising draw of the EURO tournament so far. The Oranje were able to withstand a heavy offensive barrage in the first half from Silvia Neid’s side, and had plenty of chances of their own in the second half and would have deserved the three points had they beaten Nadine Angerer.
In yet another tale of two halves, it was all Germany to start. Loes Geurts, goalkeeper for The Oranje, had her hands full as Germany put the pressure on. Geurts was forced to make a close-range save on Célia Okoyino da Mbabi in the 7th minute, and it wouldn’t stop there. Angerer would have plenty of work to do on the German side as well, notably in the 22nd minute to prevent an unmarked Kirsten van de Ven from giving Netherlands a shocking lead. It would take some desperate defending from the Dutch to keep Germany off the board. They escaped into halftime still scoreless, despite an excellent late chance for Germany started by da Mbabi that Dzsenifer Marozsán was unable to keep on frame as Geurts closed in.
Neid tried to add the finishing touch by subbing on Simone Laudehr for Nadine Keßler in the start of the second half, but the Netherlands exposed the injury-laden Germany’s weaknesses multiple times and could have stolen three points. Manon Melis had the best chance of the second in the 63rd minute, but Angerer was able to get her feet on the shot in time. As Germany’s midfield looked lost at times, the Netherlands only grew more confident and took the game to their frequent rivals.
The Netherlands wouldn’t get another clear-cut golden opportunity like that again, but they did also squander a 2-on-1 advantage in stoppage time. While the allotted two minutes of extra time had already passed, Italian referee Silvia Spinelli had yet to blow the final whistle. Melis raced up the field with the ball, as teammate Renée Slegers paced her up the left side with only Saskia Bartusiak standing between them. Slegers took far too long though, and the last gasp play failed to produce a shot of any kind before the game was finally called.
The Netherlands will be delighted by the draw, as their fans in orange stayed well after the game to cheer the team through their cool down exercises. Germany, on the other hand, will have to improve their finishing in the group stages if they are to continue their EURO dominance.
One person who was understandably frustrated by the draw was da Mbabi, who said, “Of course we are disappointed, we missed so many chances, and the self-confidence was not here today. We looked scared throughout the game.”
Germany: Angerer (GK, C), Bartusiak, Maier, Krahn, Keßler (46′ Laudehr), Lotzen (73′ Leupolz), Marozsán, Mittag, da Mbabi, Cramer, Goeßling
Netherlands: Geurts (GK), Bito, Koster (C), van den Heilgenberg, Hoogendijk, van de Ven, Spitse, Melis, van de Donk, Martens, Slegers
Referee: Silvia Spinelli (ITA); Assistant referees: Romina Santuari (ITA), Maria Lisická (SVK); Fourth Official: Carina Vitulano (ITA)
By half: 1 2 Final
Germany 0 0 0
Netherlands 0 0 0
By team: Germany Netherlands
Shots on goal 3 3
Shots 9 7
Corners 3 2
Fouls 20 11
Yellow cards 3 1
Red cards 0 0
FINAL: Norway 1 – Iceland 1
Group B of the Women’s EURO kicked off at Kalmar Arena, Kalmar with Norway and Iceland staying in the trend of the first two days of action and settling for a draw. Norway was able to find the early lead, but Iceland stayed persistent until the end and was rewarded with a late equalizer.
The first twenty five minutes of the match was a back and forth affair, with neither side having much of a clear advantage. 26 minutes in, Norway would strike first after Kristine Hegland created her own chance by heading the ball to herself past two Iceland defenders, then burying it past goalkeeper Gudbjörg Gunnarsdóttir. Despite Iceland’s physicality causing plenty of set pieces for Norway, the score stayed close at the half.
Iceland came out ready to play in the second half and had plenty of touches in the final third, but it would take a penalty kick in the 87th minute for the equalizer to net their first Euros point ever. Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir was the first to finally convert a penalty after Sweden’s two failures in yesterday’s match.
Despite Iceland’s inability to organize the defense against Norway’s direct play, Iceland deserved the point after taking the match to Norway in the second half. Norway had its own moments of shakiness in the back, which they will need to lock up if they are to have any chance against the giant of Group B, Germany.
After the match, the two head coaches sounded like night and day in the post-game media scrum. Iceland’s Sigurdur Eyjolfsson heaped praise on Vidarsdóttir and his side for staying in the match. “It’s a big step for Iceland that the team have taken today – our first point in a final tournament at full national team level and I’m extremely pleased with the players.”
On the flip side, the draw was certainly not the expected outcome for Norweigan head coach Even Jostein Pellerud, though he admitted it was “not an unfair result.” He credited Iceland for their second half comeback as well. “There is disappointment in our dressing room – they will see it as an opportunity missed. If we had been a bit more precise with our last pass and with our crosses we could easily have scored a second goal. From my point of view, that is the main disappointment.”
Norway: Hjelmseth (GK), Christensen, Akerhaugen, Mjelde, Hegerberg (75’ Thorsnes) , Stensland (C) (75’ Mykjåland), Rønning, Gulbrandsen, Hansen (84’ Kaurin) , Hegland, Isaksen; Head Coach: Even Jostein Pellerud
Iceland: G Gunnarsdóttir, Atladóttir (63’ Viggósdóttir), K Jónsdóttir, Gísladóttir, Magnúsdóttir, S B Gunnarsdóttir, M Vidarsdóttir, Lárusdóttir, Brynjarsdóttir (83’ Ómarsdóttir) , Fridriksdóttir (63’ Thorsteinsdóttir), Hönnudóttir; Head Coach: Sigurdur Eyjolfsson
Referee: Katalin Kulcsár (HUN); Assistant referees: Judit Kulcsár (HUN), Sian Massey (ENG); Fourth Official: Kirsi Heikkinen (FIN)
By half: 1 2 Final
Norway 1 0 1
Iceland 0 1 1
26’ NORWAY: Hegland (Hjelmseth)
87’ ICELAND: Vidarsdóttir (PK)
By team: Norway Iceland
Shots on goal 3 8
Shots 12 13
Corners 5 1
Fouls 5 13
Yellow cards 1 1
Red cards 0 0
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