Jill Roord came off the bench to head home an injury-time winner as Netherlands beat New Zealand 1-0 in the women’s football World Cup group game on Tuesday, June 10th. The win puts them level on points at the top of Group E with Canada who beat Cameroon 1-0 on Monday.
The Dutch dominated much of the game which was played at the Stade Oceana stadium in Le Harve. But poor finishing as well as great goalkeeping from New Zealand’s Erin Nayler kept them out. Arsenal’s forward Vivianne Miedema was most guilty of wasting opportunities for as the European champions were left frustrated for most of the game.
Despite being dominated for most of the game, New Zealand had some clear opportunities themselves but were denied by brilliant saves from goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal. Olivia Chance also had an effort against the crossbar in the first-half.
But, in the second half, the Netherlands began to put more pressure on the Football Ferns defence and were eventually rewarded for their efforts in stoppage time. A deep cross, from substitute Merel van Dongen, led to a battle in the air between Ali Riley and Lineth Beerensteyn before the ball fell to Roord who slotted the ball into the back of the net.
The goal was harsh on New Zealand who defended resolutely throughout the game, but a huge relief for the Dutch who start their World Cup campaign with a victory. AFP reported that Netherlands head coach, Sarina Wiegman, was happy with the win, but admitted her side were not at their best.
"I think we can play better than we did today. But we were looking for a win and New Zealand were looking for a draw, and I'm very glad we finally got what we wanted." She added, "I'm very relieved, of course."
New Zealand head coach, Tom Sermanni, said his players were down, but he was confident they would come back stronger. "The players will be absolutely devastated but we're a resilient group and I'm pretty confident we'll bounce back."