Battling Danes lose Euro 2017 final to brilliant Dutch - The Post

Battling Danes lose Euro 2017 final to brilliant Dutch

Women’s national team can hold their head high after fighting courageously against the tournament hosts

For the third goal, the sad truth is that if the Danish player had faced the ball she wouldn’t have jumped over it (photo: UEFA Women’s EURO Facebook page)
August 6th, 2017 7:15 pm| by Ben Hamilton

The Danish women’s national football team have this evening failed in their bid to win the country’s first major tournament in 25 years, losing 2-4 in the final of Euro 2017 to the host country, the Netherlands.

A quick lead
Thousands of Danes made the journey south to Enschede to cheer on their countrywoman, but it was a sea of orange that greeted the teams as they came out in front of an attendance of over 28,000.

It didn’t take Denmark long to silence the orange faithful though. A trip on hard-working midfielder Sanne Troelsgaard Nielsen after just six minutes presented Nadia Nadim with a penalty that she dispatched emphatically.

Soon behind
But the Dutch only trailed for four minutes. Right winger Shanice van de Sanden has been one of the stars of the tournament, and she easily outpaced her marker to thread a cross to Vivianne Miedema at the back post. Game on!

And then, with still only 27 minutes played, the game had a third goal as the Danish defence allowed Lieke Martens too much space and she found the bottom right corner with a bouncing shot.

Stepping up
Step forward Pernille Haarder, a player identified by the Dutch contingent as Denmark’s biggest threat – with good reason.

But as much as they tripped, kicked and stamped on her, the steely resolve to take this opportunity never left Haarder’s eyes, and after 33 minutes she timed her run to perfection to break into space.

Motoring into the penalty area down the right, she expertly cut inside a defender and then powered in at the near post – a goal fit to grace any final.

Faded dreams
Tied at 2-2 heading into half-time, this was Denmark’s game for the taking. But as the second half started, the Dutch clearly had a  different narrative in mind, and it was no surprise when Sherida Spitse put them ahead from a cleverly worked freekick after 51 minutes.

The Danish defence ultimately paid the price for their inability to retain possession. Time and time again in this tournament, they have lost the ball in their own half, and goalkeeper Stina Lykke Petersen – who pulled off a magnificent save to deny Miedema after 63 minutes – could not be relied on to continually bail them out of trouble.

As much as Denmark tried – an amazing Nadim run down the left beat three players and came to nothing, while a swirling shot from Troelsgaard Nielsen somehow didn’t find the top corner – they couldn’t score and it was left to Miedema to seal victory with just one minute remaining.