Dunedin : , July 23 (IANS) The 2019 finalists the Netherlands stamped their authority, overcoming FIFA debutantes Portugal 1-0 in the Group E match of the FIFA Women’s World Cup match here at Dunedin Stadium on Sunday.
A first-half goal from defender Stefanie van der Gragt was enough for the Netherlands to hold on to a win over Portugal.
The win moved the Netherlands second in Group E, below reigning world champions the USA on goal difference.
Stefanie van der Gragt’s goal in the 13th minute is the earliest goal scored in the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand so far and is the Netherlands’ earliest goal ever in the tournament.
The Netherlands got their breakthrough early when Stefanie’s powerful header at the edge of the six-yard box found the back of the net after a Sherida Spitse corner in the 13th minute.
It was initially ruled offside with Jill Roord standing in an offside position, but it was adjudged that she did not interfere with play after a VAR review.
Portugal were unable to muster a single shot before the break, and the second half started much the same way as the first. A huge save was required from Portuguese goalie Ines Periera to keep out Danielle van de Donk. She was similarly called into action after Dutch forward Lineth Beerensteyn found space to turn and shoot.
Portugal’s best opportunity of the match came in the final 10 minutes of regular time, substitute Fatima Pinto finding space in Netherlands’ penalty area and stinging the palms of Daphne van Domselaar.
But, in the end, it was the Netherlands who wrapped up a narrow victory to gain three points.