As the European Champions following 2017’s home nation heroics, The Netherlands are undoubtedly one of the teams to look out for at the Women’s World Cup this summer.
But as we know so well, nothing is a given in international football and the Lionesses were made to work hard against New Zealand. Having arrived in France last week, looking stylish we might add thanks to Cavallaro’s custom-made suits, all the focus in the Dutch camp would have been on today’s opening match.
It was one that was hotly contested and for so long, it looked like it might be heading for an unlikely nil-nil. New Zealand rattled the bar with the first chance of the game, starting off a match in which both sides failed to take so many chances. From Bloodworth’s miss to Gregorius not quite getting enough power on her strike to beat van Veenendaal, it was a manic game.
However, it will be remembered for two things, one being Lieke Martens’ Cruyff-esque turn that left two defenders chasing her shadow in the Le Harve sunshine. And the other? That will be Jill Roord’s dramatic winner, as she nudged a ball over the line in dying embers of the game.
A thrilling start to the World Cup for the Netherlands.