Netherlands 3-3 Brazil
By Abi Ticehurst
Above – Brazil celebrate. Photo: @oranjevrouwen
If you’ve ever watched Marta play, you’ll know she scores goals…and lots of them. And yet during the opening minutes of their second game of the tournament she sat incredibly defensively just left of Tamires. Proof enough of her workhorse rate down the left wing for the entirety of the game.
That said, a smart ball crossed pitch wide from left to right and chested down by Lynn Wilms before she fizzed it in to Vivianne Miedema to put the Dutch 1-0 up inside three minutes wouldn’t have suggested the Brazilians were looking particularly defensively-minded. That Miedema goal was a classic move too, she spun Erika the wrong way before turning herself and slotted the ball cool as a cucumber in the bottom right corner.
Brazil, understandably frustrated, were quick to put in a counter as Tamires guided the ball down the left wing and Marta pointed to exactly where she wanted it placed. A well weighted pass from the left back meant Marta was able to chase the ball comfortably and strike at goal but she was just off balance and it sent the attempt flying at an awkward angle. The Brazilian battling continued in their attacking third with a clash of the tens as Danielle van de Donk took on Marta resulting in a Brazilian corner. A poor clearance from the Dutch and calls for a penalty, Marta stood over the ball ready with game face on but after a lengthy VAR check, it was deemed a false decision and the game proceeded.
No sooner was their chance to equalise denied than Debinha took her chance. A defensive error by the Netherlands meant that Sari van Veenendaal could do very little and it was 1-1. Quick to fight back with an impressive counter, the Dutch thought hard for a second goal but Lieke Martens was unable to convert.
One thing of note regarding Martens, she consistently runs a very fine line, literally, whether that be down the left wing or when in the box, her pace means she’s able to craft a perfect ball to run onto and execute crosses effectively. A goal a piece at half time felt like the right score in this match up, also of note in this game is just how joyous the Brazilian switch passing in tight spots is.
Second half underway and the South Americans injected further pace into the squad on the right wing with the introduction of Ludmila da Silva. The Netherlands were able to make a convincing break less than ten minutes in, but it was a wasted opportunity as Shanice van de Sanden skied the chance way over the goal as she attempted to cross to Martens.
Another chance came as Martens got free to dance in between the defence but she spent just a little too much time which allowed them to reset and deny the attempt on goal. The ball was cleared out of the 18 yard box, but not for long as van de Donk was able to time the cross perfectly and a stealth like Miedema was hovering at the back post and headed home to make it 2-1.
More quick counter attacking from Brazil saw the ball back at the other end almost instantly and da Silva was brought down just as she stepped inside the box. Another VAR check was in order, no doubt this time it was one. Marta took and coolly slotted it in to make it 2-2.
A poorly executed pass by Aniek Nouwen back to van Veenendaal was latched onto by da Silva and the off guard keeper was caught out as it was dinked bottom right to make it 2-3. Certainly not the reason Nouwen was named my ‘one to watch’ in my pre-tournament Netherlands preview for Impetus!
The Dutch looked suitably flustered after the error and took considerably longer to settle back into the game with 20 minutes to go. However, it wasn’t too long before a dubious yellow was given to de Silva and the Netherlands were awarded a free-kick. And boy, Dominique Janssen did not disappoint. She stuck it clean to hit top bins and whilst Barbara was able to get a hand to it, the power behind the shot was too much for her to keep it out and it was all square at 3-3.
A game that showcased the talents and depth of both sides, the Netherlands will face China next whilst Brazil take on the fascinating Zambian outfit.
Teams: NETHERLANDS: van Veenendaal, Wilms, van der Gragt, Nouwen, Janssen, Roord, van de Donk, Groenen, van de Sanden, Miedema. Substitutes: van Dongen, Folkertsma, Pelova, van Es, Kop, Beerensteyn, Jansen.
Scorers: Miedema 3, 59. Janssen 79.
BRAZIL: Barbara, Erika, Rafaelle, Tamires, Bruna, Duda, Formiga, Marta, Andressinha, Debinha, Beatriz. Substitutes: Poliana, Angelina, Ludmila, Jucinara, Geyse, Leticia, Andressa
Scorers: Debinha 16, Marta (pen) 65, Ludmilla 68.
Referee: Kate Jacewicz (AUS).