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Netherlands 1-0 Portugal: Van der Gragt header settles Group E clash
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PA Sport staff
Press Association
Netherlands won their first World Cup game in Dunedin (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)
Netherlands won their first World Cup game in Dunedin (Alessandra Tarantino/AP)

Stefanie van der Gragt’s early header proved the difference as the Netherlands opened their World Cup campaign with a 1-0 victory over debutants Portugal in Dunedin.

The defender sent the ball past Ines Pereira in the 13th minute, with the effort being given via VAR.

Jill Roord and Danielle van de Donk were unable to take good subsequent chances for the Dutch – who are without record scorer Vivianne Miedema at this tournament as she continues to recover from an ACL injury – while a rare effort from Portugal late on saw substitute Telma Encarnacao’s shot saved by Daphne van Domselaar.

The Netherlands join the United States, the team they were beaten by in the 2019 World Cup final, on three points in Group E ahead of facing them in their next match on Thursday.

Early Netherlands pressure led to a Lineth Beerensteyn shot deflecting over, and from the resulting corner, Van der Gragt rose at the back post and crashed a header into the net.

The effort was initially disallowed, but VAR intervened and after referee Kateryna Monzul watched back footage pitchside it was deemed Roord had not interfered and the goal was given.

Roord herself then headed over from a good position midway through the half, and there were further unsuccessful attempts on the Portuguese goal before the interval from Lieke Martens, Esmee Brugts, Van de Donk and Beerensteyn.

After the break, Van de Donk, who perhaps should have done better, and Beerensteyn were denied by Pereira as the Dutch failed to add to their tally.

Having made little impact in attack, Portugal then had an opportunity to equalise in the 83rd minute as Encarnacao cut into the box, but her strike was dealt with by Van Domselaar.


Women's World CupNetherlands WPortugal WNetherlandsPortugal
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