Netherlands, Denmark reach women’s Euro quarterfinals

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DEVENTER, Netherlands: Hosts Netherlands beat neighbors Belgium 2-1 to advance to the women’s Euro quarterfinals alongside Denmark, who edged 2013 runners-up Norway 1-0 in Group A on Monday (Tuesday in Manila).

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In Tilburg, Sherida Spitse converted a penalty — her second in two games — in the 27th minute to put the Netherlands ahead after Maud Coutereels had brought down Jackie Groenen in the box.

Tessa Wullaert put Belgium level on 59 minutes with a high chip that caught out goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal.

Netherlands’ midfielder Sherida Spitse scores during the UEFA Women’s Euro 2017 football tournament between Belgium and the Netherlands at Stadium Koning Wilhelm II in Tilburg. AFP PHOTO

But Lieke Martens helped the hosts keep their perfect record of three wins from as many games with a shot that was deflected by defender Heleen Jaques over keeper Justien Odeurs.

In Deventer, Denmark’s Katrine Veje scored on five minutes, blasting her shot past Norwegian keeper Ingrid Hjelmseth after being set up by skipper Pernille Harder.

Norway wasted a spot-kick just before half time as Danish keeper Stina Lykke Petersen kept out Caro­line Graham Hansen’s shot following a foul on striker Ada Hegerberg.

Denmark finished second on six points, ahead of Belgium with three and Norway—who had advanced to the knockout stages every time since 1997—with zero points.

The Dutch were on the front foot for most of the match, with Martens firing over on 11 minutes.

Belgium, playing their first European Championship, could have leveled earlier but Janice Cayman flicked the ball just over after the break.

In the closing minutes, Davina Philt­jens curled a free kick over the Dutch goal, Wullaert had a left-footed strike tipped over by Van Veenendaal and Ja­ques saw her header cleared off the goal line.

Not achieved anything yet
“We are very happy to have won the three matches, which is a result to be proud of. I am enjoying tonight, but we will focus on Saturday tomorrow,” said Martens.

“We still have not achieved anything yet, but we hope we can show something good again in the quarter-final.”

“We started well, put up some pressure. After that Netherlands came into the match with their qualities,” said Belgium coach Ives Serneels.

“We just have to take the next steps to develop women’s football in our nation further on. But it was our first qualification for a final tournament and I am very proud on what we achieved.”

Denmark pushed for a goal from the beginning, with Harder and Stine Larsen missing the target.

Norway gradually took over, but Guro Reiten drove her two shots over.

Denmark were more dangerous, with Hjelmseth stopping shots from Sanne Troelsgaard and Frederikke Thoegersen, while Nadia Nadim fluffed a chance and was then was denied by Hjelmseth after the break.

At the other end, Graham Hansen fired over and then hit the post with a cross-cum-shot five minutes from time, with Ingrid Wold’s rebound turned onto the bar by Petersen.

“This was a very tough match for us,” said Danish coach Nils Nielsen.

“The first half was ours and we created the chances we needed. In the second half we changed a little bit and Norway put a lot of pressure on us and maybe they should have scored but it just didn’t go in for them.”

“We might have been a bit lucky but we were chasing the luck.”

Norway coach Martin Sjogren said going home without a goal scored was “pretty tough for us.”

AFP

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