- Soccer World Cup
Netherlands Scores Early Then Shuts Down Portugal 1-0 at Women’s World Cup
11:02 JST, July 24, 2023
DUNEDIN, New Zealand (AP) — Stefanie van der Gragt scored on a header in the 13th minute, leading the Netherlands to a 1-0 win over Portugal at the Women’s World Cup on Sunday as the 2019 finalists began their tournament run.
The Dutch defender gathered herself as teammate Sherida Spitse lofted a corner kick her way, then headed the ball across the goal into the far side of the net. An offside review delayed the celebration.
The goal by the 30-year-old van der Gragt, who plans to retire after the Women’s World Cup, was the quickest first goal of the tournament. The Dutch controlled the tempo of the game — Portugal’s first shot of the match didn’t come until the 82nd minute.
The meeting with the Netherlands, ranked No. 9 in the world, marked Portugal’s first-ever tournament appearance.
On hand were 11,991 spectators, who were sheltered from the rain inside Dunedin’s covered Forsyth Barr Stadium, known as the Glasshouse, which has a capacity of 25,947.
Though most of the crowd appeared to be Dutch fans, a small but vocal group of Portuguese supporters with flags and team apparel banged on drums throughout the game, the beat echoing across the venue.
Van der Gragt’s first-half goal gave the Dutch a lead and allowed them to play lockdown defense. Both teams played a physical game, but Portugal was unable to match the Netherlands’ technical mastery.
WHY IT MATTERS
The Dutch victory raises the stakes for their upcoming rematch with the two-time defending world champion Americans, who beat Netherlands 2-0 in that 2019 final. A winner in that match will gain control of Group E and could very well wrap up a berth in the knockout stage.
Portugal failed to break through and become the first of the eight newcomers in the Women’s World Cup to get a win.
IN THEIR OWN WORDS
“It’s an important goal. I’m proud of the team and it’s a good win. The first game is always the important game of the tournament and I think these three points are really good for us.” — Stefanie van der Gragt, Netherlands defender.
“What the Portuguese players did today is of utmost courage, utmost character. To play the vice champions of the world (2019 runners-up), and the Portuguese players managed to break their rhythm. We just need to play more matches and get used to this,” Francisco Neto, Portugal head coach.
Netherlands heads to the Group E showdown against the U.S. on Thursday in Wellington. Portugal faces Vietnam, which didn’t get a single shot on goal in its 3-0 loss to the Americans, also on Thursday. That match is in Hamilton, with the loser likely out of contention for the round of 16.
"Sports" POPULAR ARTICLE
Shohei Ohtani Gets Married, He Says on His Official Instagram Account (Update 2)
Sumo: Former Ozeki Tochinoshin Retires with Ceremonial Snip of His Top-knot
Shohei Ohtani Says Wife Is ‘Ordinary Japanese Woman’; Couple Met 3 Years Ago, Got Engaged Last Year (UPDATE 1)
Ex-yokozuna Hakuho to Face Demotion in JSA over Violence by Stable’s Wrestler
Kiyoto Hirabayashi of Kokugakuin University Wins Osaka Marathon V; Does Not Break Qualifying Time for Paris Olympics
JN ACCESS RANKING
- Current Account Surplus Doubles in ’23
- ‘All-country’ Stock Mutual Funds Popular with NISA Investors
- Japan Real Wages Fall at Steepest Pace in 9 Years in 2023
- Pressure Mounting for Wage Increases in Shunto Negotiations; Fears about the Response of Struggling SMEs
- North Korean Workers in China Riot over Unpaid Wages; 2,000 Occupy Factory, Kill Plant Manager