Netherlands thump Belgium as preparations continue

Ahead of the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup, the Netherlands organised a friendly fixture against Belgium. Limburg would host the two sides on Sunday evening, with the hosts expected to cruise to victory against their local rivals – Belgium did not qualify for this summer’s tournament.

NED: van Domselaar; Janssen, van der Gragt, Spitse; Groenen; Brugts, van de Donk, Roord, Pelova; Martens, Beerensteyn

BEL: Evrard; Vanhaevermaet, Tysiak, Kees; Philtjens, Missipo, Delacauw, Cayman; Eurlings; Blom, Dhont

The Oranje got off to a great start in Limburg, as Lieke Martens opened the scoring with just two minutes on the clock. A long ball over the top found the run of Daniëlle van de Donk, who surged towards the byline before cutting back towards Martens. The forward slammed an effort straight at the ‘keeper, but Evrard was only able to palm it wide and over the line – a dream start for the Dutch.

With less than fifteen minutes played, the hosts were presented with an opportunity to double their lead from the spot. Sari Kees was judged to have handled the ball inside the area in a bid to prevent a Dutch attack, and after a brief visit to the pitchside monitor, the referee was left with no choice but to award the penalty. van den Gragt struck left, but a great save from Evrard ensured the scoreline remained unchanged.

Yet another chance to add to their lead from the same spot would be granted just ten minutes later. Féli Delacauw became entangled with Lineth Beerensteyn inside the area, though this time Sherida Spitse stepped up to strike the resulting penalty. The defender’s effort was sent calmly into the bottom-right corner, and the Netherlands were truly cruising to victory.

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With a little under ten minutes still to play before the half-time interval, the Oranje added their third of the evening. Another long ball played over the top picked out Beerensteyn, with the Juventus forward opting to lay the ball off to her strike partner, Lieke Martens. Once she had freed herself from her marker, Martens returned the favour, teeing up Beerensteyn for a simple finish that she executed to perfection.

Once play had resumed for the second half, the Netherlands were still hungry for more – and their desire to put on a show was evidenced in the 63rd minute. Dominque Janssen was able to find Victoria Pelova with a beautiful cross-field pass, allowing the Arsenal star to cut inside and go on a mazy run before tucking the ball away into the far corner.

And twenty minutes later, they found their fifth goal of the night. A free-kick routine was exercised to perfection, with a cross played into the box from the right flank. Aniek Nouwen rose highest to meet it at the back post, but her headed effort rebounded off the crossbar and into the path of Everton’s Katja Snoeijs – she made no mistake from close range, pummelling the ball over the line.

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It’s a promising result for the Netherlands, and one that will fill them with confidence ahead of the upcoming FIFA Women’s World Cup. They’ve been placed in Group E alongside Portugal, Vietnam and the United States – who will be considered as favourites by some.

FromTheSpot will be bringing you coverage of every game throughout the FIFA Women’s World Cup, including previews and detailed reports. We’ll cover games in the buildup to the tournament too, so you can get a feel for the potential favourites ahead of action getting underway in Australia and New Zealand.


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