England 5-1 Netherlands
by Darrell Allen at Elland Road for Impetus (25/6/22).
Above: Beth Mead in celebration mode after scoring against the Netherlands at Elland Road. Photo: Lionesses.
The Lionesses overcame an early setback to come from behind and see off the Netherlands in superb style at Elland Road.
The Dutch took the lead through a beautifully placed header from Lieke Martens but their joy didn’t last long. A Lucy Bronze equaliser before halftime was followed by a second-half brace from Beth Mead and further goals from Ella Toone plus one from Lauren Hemp.
The game was an enjoyable watch throughout as the 19,365 battled the UK-wide travel problems of the week to ensure a fantastic atmosphere for the Euro 2022 warm-up match at the home of Leeds United.
A slow start from England saw them caught out when careless passing allowed the Netherlands to take the lead. A corner from Sherida Spitse found Martens who headed past Mary Earps at the far post.
This was a contest which saw England wear their new orange away kit and the Netherlands playing in white. Confusion and disappointment didn’t last long as the Elland Road crowd got behind the team in superb style.
Lucy Bronze somehow found the net when her cross evaded Netherlands keeper Sari Van Veenendaal to level the scores. It was one of those that clearly was not meant as a shot on goal, but came at a very welcome time in the game.
The Dutch were given a lifeline when Alex Greenwood brought down Danielle Van de Donk in the area and the penalty was awarded at the conclusion of a VAR review.
Van De Donk was unable to restore the visitors’ lead as her penalty struck the post, in the last of any noteworthy action for the Netherlands.
Lauren Hemp by her own standards had been quiet in the first half but came to life when she ran down the wing and found Beth Mead who got the ball and slid in to finish at the back post. England led within a minute of the penalty miss.
Toone, like Mead also a substitute on the evening was next to find the net when her shot went through the hands of Van Veenendal into the corner in what was a very poor mistake from the Netherlands keeper.
The fourth was quick to follow as Bronze stormed down the right and found Toone who saw her shot hit the post but come back for Lauren Hemp to finish wonderfully with a volley to put the game out of sight.
Mead rounded off the scoring and made it a brace for herself when she finished well from inside the box. Alessia Russo almost added a sixth but her ferocious strike hit the bar.
A further plus point on the evening was the inclusion of Fran Kirby, her first start for many months as she continues her recovery from recent injury and illness setbacks.
A night of so many positives and which ended with a lap of appreciation from the players. With the Euros beginning on 6th July, there is so much anticipation and excitement for the tournament, especially with England on such fine form.
There is one final warm-up match for England with Sarina Weigman’s team visiting Switzerland in Zurich this Thursday at 5.00pm UK time.
Teams: ENGLAND: Earps, Bronze, Bright, Greenwood, Daly, Williamson, Walsh, Kelly, Kirby, Hemp, England. Substitutes: Stokes, Hampton, Stanway, Toone, Wubben-Moy, Mead, Parris, Russo, Scott, Roebuck, Carter.
Scorers: Bronze 32′, Mead 32′, 90′. Toone 72′, Hemp 74′.
NETHERLANDS: Van Veenendaal, Wilms, Van Der Gragt, Nouwen, Janssen, Groenen, Pelova, Spitse, Roord, Beerensteyn, Martens. Subs: Van Dongen, Miedema, Van De Donk, Jansen, Dijkstra, Van Domselaar, Leuchter, Casparij, Olislagers, Egurrola, Brugts, Lorsheyd.
Scorer: Martens 22′.
Referee: Sandra Braz Bastos.