Utrecht (Netherlands) (AFP) – Shanice van de Sanden’s bullet header handed hosts the Netherlands a 1-0 win against Norway in the women’s European Championship opener on Sunday.
The Liverpool winger capitalised on a superb cross from Lieke Martens from the left wing that found her face to face with helpless Norway keeper Ingrid Hjelmseth.
Pleasing the sold-out Galgenwaard stadium in Utrecht, the Dutch were on the front foot throughout the game, with Martens and Arsenal striker Anna Miedema a constant threat.
Miedema was denied twice by Hjelmseth early into the game as the keeper first cleared her shot in the first minute following a cross from van de Sanden, then tipped another over the bar ten minutes later.
Miedema, who turned only 21 on Saturday, sent two shots wide after halftime, then another five minutes from the end.
Norway, the runners-up at the last Euro in 2013, had a good chance in the second minute when Kristine Minde chipped the ball over Dutch keeper Sari van Veenendaal but failed to find the goal.
Van Veenendaal then stopped Caroline Graham’s effort and that was just about all Norway had to offer.
Their attempt to put the hosts under pressure in the final minutes failed — in a rare scoring chance, Olympique Lyon striker Ada Hederberg missed the ball at the post in stoppage time.