Andries Jonker happy with narrow Dutch win over Portugal Women

The Vivienne Miedema-less Netherlands were off to a bright start in this year’s World Cup. The 2019 World Cup finalists were scheduled to open their account “down under” against World Cup debutants Portugal.

The Dutch (with the versatile Victoria Pelova deployed at midfield) weren’t forgiving to their “European friends”. It only took them 13 minutes to break the deadlock through a Stephanie Van der Gragt header from a corner kick that hit the back of the net. The goal was initially ruled out, but it was given after the VAR’s intervention.

If history had anything to tell us about the game, the Dutch haven’t lost a World Cup game since they scored first, and that was the case against the Portuguese. The Portuguese tried to equalise while defending, while the Dutch were keen to add another goal, but these efforts didn’t bear any fruit. The game ended 1-0, with Van de Gragt’s goal the only thing separating the two sides. “Portugal were really combative. There were moments where we were great and moments where there is room for improvement,” Dutch coach Andries Jonker said.

With the win, the Netherlands are 2nd in group E; the USA, who beat Vietnam 3-0, lead the group; Portugal is third, and Vietnam is fourth.

Up next for Pelova and Co. is a clash against the US. After the frustrations the US left them with after beating them 2-0 in the 2019 World Cup Final, they have a chance to get back at them.

Michelle Maxwell

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