A Norwegian side including Chelsea Ladies midfielder Maren Mjelde have lost 1-0 to host nation The Netherlands in the opening match of the 2017 UEFA Women’s European Championship at the Stadion Galgenwaard in Utrecht.
Liverpool Ladies winger Shanice van de Sanden netted the only goal of the match mid-way through the second half to leave Norway’s hopes of qualification for the last eight of the competition very much in the balance.
The first half saw The Netherlands start the better of the two sides while Norway grew into the match as the half wore on. Veteran Norwegian keeper Ingrid Hjelmseth was arguably the busier of the two goalkeepers while neither side were clinical enough in front of goal to open the scoring. Blues midfielder Mjelde had one good effort on goal during the first 45 minutes but her free-kick was palmed to safety by Arsenal Ladies keeper Sari van Veenendaal.
The second half saw Norway’s attacking threat decrease as the hosts took full control of the game. The Dutch looked dangerous when on the attack and some last-ditch defending from the Norwegians denied their opponents a goal until in the 66th minute van de Sanden headed in a pinpoint cross from Lieke Martens to spark some wild scenes of celebration inside Stadion Galgenwaard.
Norway never looked like equalising despite Mjelde’s best efforts to get her side going and Martin Sjogren’s side must do much better in their remaining group matches against Denmark and Belgium.