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Dutch women claim maiden European soccer title

Xinhua | Updated: 2017-08-07 09:07

Dutch women claim maiden European soccer title

Netherlands celebrate winning the Women's Euro 2017 Final in Enschede, Netherlands, August 6, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

THE HAGUE - The Netherlands captured their first European title by beating Denmark 4-2 in the final of Women's Euro 2017 in Enschede on Sunday.

In front of around 30,000 spectators the first half of the final was spectacular. Denmark were awarded an early penalty after Sanne Troelsgaard was brought down by Kika van Es. Nadia Nadim converted the penalty to open the scoring.

The Netherlands bounced back quickly when striker Vivianne Miedema netted on a cross from the right by Shanice van de Sanden. The equalizer was followed by another goal for the hosts. Danish goalkeeper Stina Lykke was not able to stop a shot by Lieke Martens.

Despite the massive support of the orange dressed home crowd the Dutch team, coached by Sarina Wiegman, let Denmark come back into the match. Pernille Harder finished a run from the Danish half for the 2-2 at half-time.

Six minutes into the second half Sharida Spitse delighted the home crowd by scoring from a free-kick. Lykke had no answer to the low placed shot in the corner of the goal.

Miedema could have extended the scoring and maybe secure the title, but the Danish goalkeeper prevented the fourth goal with a superb reflex. In 88th minute Miedema did produce her second goal and earned the Dutch women the 4-2 win and the title.

The success of the Dutch national team comes as a surprise. The Dutch women had played a modest role in European women's soccer so far in history, with a semifinal place at Euro 2009 as highlight so far. However, as hosts of the tournament the Dutch women were able to write history and reach the first ever final.

The team had started the group phase with 1-0 win over two-time European champions Norway, followed by wins over Denmark (1-0) and Belgium (2-1). In the quarterfinals the Dutch were too strong for one-time champions Sweden (2-0) and in the semifinal "Oranje" outclassed England 3-0.

The performances created an atmosphere of joy in the country, comparable with the atmosphere surrounding the matches of the male's Dutch national team. Even the attacking, attractive style of play of the Dutch team has some similarities with the male's team. And with this European title the Dutch women even equaled the amount of trophies of the far more illustrious male team, which became European champions once in 1988.

With the victory of the Dutch women a streak of six consecutive European titles for tournament favorites Germany, which had won eight European titles in total came to an end. The Dutch hope this is the start of their glory days for the soccer women. The new heroes will get an official celebration on Monday in Utrecht.

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