Netherlands enjoyed a perfect FIFA Women’s World Cup™ debut with a 1-0 victory over New Zealand in Edmonton to set themselves up with a real opportunity to reach the last 16.
A stunning first-half strike from Lieke Martens was the difference in a disjointed contest that the Netherlands deserved to win. The match lacked the intensity of the first contest earlier in the day between Canada and China PR, despite a slight cooling of the temperature.
New Zealand are now without a win after ten Women’s World Cup matches and will be desperate for three points against their other Group A opponents China and Canada. Netherlands’ Danielle Van De Donk had the ball in the net on the quarter-hour mark but the goal was ruled out for offside.
New Zealand fullback Ria Percival fired in a free-kick from far and wide out which looked like creeping into the top corner but in the end goalkeeper Loes Geurts flicked the ball away. Then Martens stepped into the action with the decisive moment of the match. The Swedish-based No11 cut in from the left with her first touch and fired a perfectly delivered shot from 25 yards.
The second half was very disjointed throughout with neither goalkeeper seriously tested. The Oceanians struggled to be creative in the attacking third, with some of their best moments from set-pieces.
Live Your Goals Player of the Match: Lieke Martens (Netherlands)