BREDA: Elke Van Gorp and Janice Cayman gave Belgium their first-ever win at the women’s Euros as the Red Flames stunned 2013 runners-up Norway 2-0 in Breda.
In the day’s other Group A game in Rotterdam, Sherida Spitse’s penalty gave the Netherlands a 1-0 win over Denmark. The Dutch top the group with six points, ahead of Belgium and Denmark on three points each. Van Gorp slammed in a rebound in the 59th minute past Norway keeper Ingrid Hjelmseth who had cleared Tessa Wullaert’s header following a cross from Belgium’s Davina Philtjens.
Eight minutes later, Cayman headed in a long throw-in that had found its way through the Norwegian defence. In Rotterdam, Spitse scored from the spot on 20 minutes with a clinical shot following a foul on Danielle van de Donk — Danish keeper Stina Petersen picked the correct side but she could do nothing to stop the ball. Ahead of the tournament in the Netherlands, Norway won nine of ten competitive meetings with Belgium.
But the Belgians had the first chance when Van Gorp saw her left-footed effort stopped by Hjelmseth just three minutes into the game. Norway then took charge with Ada Hegerberg heading over the crossbar and Caroline Graham Hansen slamming her volley over with just Belgian keeper Justien Odeurs to beat. Belgium’s Tine De Caigny then missed a pass from Wullaert right in front of the goal and Cayman sent her effort wide, while Andrine Hegerberg’s shot was tipped away by Odeurs.
Maren Mjelde sent a free kick over five minutes from the end and Ada Hegerberg squandered another chance. “The players had to win. It was part of the learning process playing in such a tournament. They had to win and they did it very well,” said Belgium coach Ives Serneels. “We want to win the game against Holland and then we’ll have qualified.”
In Rotterdam, the Netherlands were quick to put Denmark under pressure, with Vivianne Miedema missing the target in the first good chance, a minute before the penalty was awarded. Minutes later, Pernille Harder was denied by Dutch keeper Sari Van Veenendaal while Sanne Troelsgaard beat the keeper but sent her effort over the bar after the break. Denmark stepped up the pressure in the second half but Troelsgaard squandered more chances and Nadia Nadim headed Harder’s free kick straight into Van Veenendaal. At the other end, Spitse could have made it 2-0 but her free kick ended in the side netting. “Denmark wanted to score and played much deeper in the second half with more players up front, and we had difficulties with that,” said Dutch coach Sarina Wiegman.
“We created some chances to score, but the Dutch goalkeeper had a great night and made some great saves,” said Denmark coach Nils Nielsen. “We will have to beat Norway and I will be very happy if we do so.”