Nightmare start for Norway in women’s Euro opener defeat

Shanice van de Sanden's bullet header handed hosts the Netherlands a 1-0 win against Norway in the women's European Championship opener on Sunday.

Nightmare start for Norway in women's Euro opener defeat
Norway striker Ada Hederberg during the Euro 2017 opening match defeat to the Netherlands. Photo: Berit Roald / NTB scanpix

The winger capitalised on a superb cross from Lieke Martens from the left wing that found her face to face with helpless Norway keeper Ingrid Hjelmseth.

Pleasing the sold-out Galgenwaard stadium in Utrecht, the Dutch were on the front foot throughout the game, with Martens and striker Anna Miedema a constant threat.

Martens was denied twice by Hjelmseth early into the game as the keeper first cleared her shot in the first minute following a cross from van de Sanden, then tipped another over the bar ten minutes later.


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Miedema, who turned only 21 on Saturday, sent two shots wide after halftime, then another five minutes from the end.

“There was team work, there was fighting spirit, and we also wanted to play good football,” said Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman.

“Today all those ingredients were there. That's something to be proud of.”

Norway, the runners-up at the last Euro in 2013, had a good chance in the second minute when Kristine Minde chipped the ball over Dutch keeper Sari van Veenendaal but failed to find the goal.

Van Veenendaal then stopped Caroline Graham's effort and that was just about all Norway had to offer.

Their attempt to put the hosts under pressure in the final minutes failed — in a rare scoring chance, Olympique Lyon striker Ada Hederberg missed the ball at the post in stoppage time.

Norway's coach Martin Sjögren said the hosts' victory was “fair.”

“We had major problems in our attacking game and we ended up very disorganised in defence because of that,” he said.

Hederberg told broadcaster NRK that her team had not done enough to put the Dutch players under pressure.

“We gave them far too much space. There was an unbelievable distance between the players. That made us unable to help each other. We need to go up several levels in the next game,” she said.

Norway meet Belgium on Thursday in a match the Scandinavian team now must take a result from to maintain a realistic chance of progress in the tournament.

Belgium were beaten 1-0 by Denmark in the other Group A match Sunday.

The results leave Denmark and the Netherlands joint top of Group A on three points each.

The two best teams from each of the tournament's four groups qualify for the quarter finals.


Nordic countries to launch joint bid to host 2027 World Cup

Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland want to jointly host the FIFA Women's World Cup in 2027.

Nordic countries to launch joint bid to host 2027 World Cup
Sweden players during this year's World Cup in France. Photo: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

The five Nordic nations want to share hosting duties for the 2027 edition of the World Cup finals and are to present the idea to the Nordic Council at a meeting in Stockholm on Tuesday, Danish football association DBU has confirmed.

FIFA is already positively disposed to joint bids for future finals tournaments, which has lent encouragement to the Nordic project, according to DBU's chairman Jesper Møller.

“We can see that support for women's football is here to stay, most recently at the (2019) World Cup in France, where matches were played in front of full stadiums and television viewers' interest was huge,” Møller said.

“A joint Nordic World Cup would not only ensure a fantastic experience for many football fans but will also strengthen important Nordic partnerships and community, and hopefully inspire many football-keen women and girls,” he continued.

“That's why support from the Nordic Council is important,” he added.

The Nordic Council (Nordisk Råd) is the official body for inter-parliamentary co-operation among the five Nordic countries and three territories of the Faroe Islands, Greenland, and the Åland Islands.

DBU is also looking into the possibility of hosting the 2025 European Championships in Denmark.