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Dutch Women’s Team Triumphs Over Norway in European Championship Qualifiers

The Netherlands women’s team bounced back from a shaky start in the European Championship qualification, clinching a victory against Norway on Tuesday. Securing their second win in the qualifying campaign, the Dutch triumphed 1-0 in Breda, courtesy of a remarkable long-range strike from Lineth Beerensteyn in the sixth minute.

Despite the win, Andries Jonkers’s squad displayed some unconvincing moments, following their earlier defeat against Italy (2-0) in the qualifying group’s inaugural match last Friday.

This loss marked the third consecutive setback for the Oranje, who also struggled to find the net in their recent matches. Failures against Spain and Germany during the UEFA Nations League finals led to their exclusion from the Olympics. Criticism surrounding the team’s performance ensued, although Jonker and the players expressed their disagreement with such assessments.

Lieke Martens and Jackie Groenen remained sidelined for the clash against Norway, who had previously defeated Finland 4-0 in their opening match of the European Qualifying campaign. Additionally, Daphne van Domselaar, Jill Roord, and Vivianne Miedema were still unavailable due to lingering injuries.

In response, Ajax striker Romeo Leuchter earned her maiden start for the national team. Jonker reverted to a 4-3-3 formation, a departure from the customary 5-2-3 setup, marking the first instance of such tactical adjustment in over a year.

The Oranje commenced the match at the Rat Verlegh stadium with a strong offensive presence. Their initial threatening attack yielded the opening goal, with Beerensteyn, deployed as a left winger, cutting inside before delivering a curling strike from the edge of the area into the far corner. The 104-time international showcased her prowess once again under Jonker’s guidance, emerging as the team’s leading scorer since his appointment, with 13 goals to her name.

Norway managed the first chance of the second half, but goalkeeper Lize Kop handled the attempt comfortably. Oranje demonstrated further attacking intent in the latter stages of the match, as Beerensteyn narrowly missed the target, leaving some spectators at the stadium momentarily deceived by the near-scoring opportunity.

In the closing moments, Guro Reiten squandered another significant chance for Norway.

With the unexpected loss of Italy to Finland (1-2), all teams in the group now stand level with three points from two matches. The top two positions secure direct qualification for the European Championships, while the third and fourth-placed teams must navigate through the playoffs for qualification. Oranje is set to face Finland on May 31 in their forthcoming qualifier.

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