ENSCHEDE, Netherlands: A brace from Vivianne Miedema led hosts Netherlands to a 4-2 win over Denmark and their first women’s Euro title in Enschede on Sunday (Monday in Manila).
Miedema pulled the hosts level at 1-1 on ten minutes and added her second goal two minutes from the end to round off the scoring, with Lieke Martens and skipper Sherida Spitse also scoring for the champions.
Denmark took the lead as Nadia Nadim scored from the penalty spot on six minutes after Kika van Es had brought down Sanne Troelsgaard in the box.
Miedema then fired home a superb cross from right-winger Shanice van de Sanden who had outsprinted Cecilie Sandvej on the wing.
Martens turned with the ball just outside the box in the 28th minute and her low left-footer beat diving Danish keeper Stina Petersen at her left post.
The valiant Danes equalised on 33 minutes when skipper Pernille Harder picked up a long pass on the right wing, took it inside the box and wrong-footed Dutch keeper Sari van Veenendaal, scoring with a low left-foot shot to her left post.
Spitse then scored five minutes after the break with a low shot from a free-kick and Miedema made it 4-2 after fooling a defender inside the box and beating Petersen with a low shot in the 89th minute.
The Dutch are only the fourth team to lift the trophy after eight-time champions Germany, two-time winners Norway and Sweden, who won the first edition in 1984.
“It was an open match, both teams played to win of course,” said Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman.
“There were two teams who really wanted to play football. A match with six goals, that’s very important for women’s football as well.”
“We’ve played six amazing games and today we showed that even if we get behind in the game we can still change the game,” said Miedema, pointing out the champions’ perfect record at the tournament.
“The moment we scored for 3-2, I just thought — it’s not going to go wrong again,” added the 21-year-old new Arsenal signing from Bayern Munich.
“We played so much better in the second half and I think we deserved to win the tournament.”
Denmark, like the Dutch playing in their first finals, made two changes in their starting line-up as Sofie Junge Pedersen replaced midfielder Line Jensen, out with a torn knee ligament, while Sandvej came in for left-back Line Roddik.
Propelled by a sold-out Twente stadium in Enschede, the Dutch dominated the early minutes of a very lively first half, but Denmark’s first goal levelled the situation on the pitch.
Martens could have extended her scoring record after 15 minutes, when van de Sanden’s low cross found her inside the box, but Petersen had little trouble clearing her weak shot.
Nadim had two good chances to add to her opener, but her one-on-one with Van Veenendaal ended in the hands of the Dutch keeper and then she missed a cross.
In the second half, Van Es sent a long-range shot wide, Petersen superbly stopped Miedema’s blast from long range and Jackie Groenen narrowly missed from long range.
At the other end, Katrine Veje’s attempt from inside the box missed the Dutch goal, just like a rebound from a corner by substitute Frederikke Thogersen.
Troelsgaard missed the top corner by an inch five minutes from the end as the Danes pushed for an equaliser.
“The Dutch team scored more goals than us and to be quite honest the Dutch team was the best team in the tournament,” said Denmark coach Nils Nielsen.
“It’s not easy to play at home, it’s so easy to disappoint everybody, but they didn’t, they performed so well.”
“I am very, very proud of my team, we have had so many problems and they kept fighting right until the end.”