On the back of a valuable 2-1 victory over 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup finalists England in last month’s UEFA Women’s Nations League encounter in Utrecht, Oranjeleeuwinnen manager Andries Jonker made only the solitary change to his starting eleven – with Kerstin Casparij coming in for Victoria Pelova.
Meanwhile, in pursuit of their opening victory in the record-breaking competition, Pedro Martínez Losa recalled Amy Rogers and 18-year-old Rangers academy graduate Kirsty MacLean into the engine room of the Scottish midfield – after both players came off the substitutes’ bench during the 1-1 home draw with Belgium.
NED: van Domselaar; Dijkstra, Casparij, Janssen, Brugts; Spitse, Groenen, van de Donk; Roord, Beerensteyn, Martens
SCO: Gibson; McLauchlan, Howard, Corsie, Docherty; Grimshaw, Rogers, MacLean; Emslie, Hanson, Thomas
Victorious in four of their five historical head-to-head encounters, the Netherlands began assertively from the kick-off, and were rewarded for their determined attacking endeavours with the opening goal in the 12th minute, as Daniëlle van de Donk clinically converted Kerstin Casparij’s deflected cross past Scotland keeper Lee Gibson from close range.Embed from Getty Images
Keen not to let their heads drop, Scotland responded positively, and were only denied an equalising goal by Netherlands’ number one Daphne van Domselaar, who did brilliantly to acrobatically reroute domestic teammate Kirsty Hanson’s ambitious long-range effort over the top of the crossbar.
However, it would be at the opposite end of the pitch where the next goal would be decided shortly after the 30-minute mark, as a mistimed clearance from inside of the Scottish penalty area kindly fell to the feet of Esmee Brugts, who made no mistake at all in firing beyond Gibson into the back of the net.
Looking to set to remain atop the summit of Group A1, the Netherlands needed only seven minutes of the second half to put the game to bed as Sherida Spitse’s awe-inspiring defence-splitting through ball from inside of her own half was emphatically fired home on the half-volley by Lineth Beerensteyn.
Keen to extend their goal difference over second-placed England, the hosts added a fourth to the already one-sided scoreline in the 71st minute, as Damaris Egurrola’s exquisite first-time delivery into the danger area was authoritatively headed home by Beerensteyn for her second of the evening.Embed from Getty Images
With no other goals on the agenda, there was still time for the bumper crowd inside of the Goffertstadion to euphorically celebrate the return of their all-time record goalscorer Vivianne Miedema – for her first appearance on the international scene since suffering a long-term ACL injury while playing for Arsenal in December 2022.
The comprehensive victory for the Netherlands leaves Andries Jonker’s side on the losing side in only one of their last 10 international encounters – both competitive and non-competitive. Meanwhile, Scotland remain rooted to the bottom of the group standings, without a much-needed victory in the 2023/24 UEFA Women’s Nations League tournament.