CNN

With the score at 2-2, Daniëlle van de Donk fired a perfect strike into the top right corner of the goal from the edge of the penalty area, sealing a 3-2 victory for the Netherlands against Portugal in their Euro feminine. group stage match.

“I almost never score goals like [my winner]”, said van de Donk according to UEFA.com.

“Normally I only score tap-ins. I know where the ball is going and I hit it. For this one, I don’t know what happened!

It was a thrilling game in which Portugal – the tournament’s second lowest-ranked team – came back after two goals to level the deal but were eventually outclassed by the defending champions.

The Netherlands’ preparation had been disrupted by injuries and Covid which left it without four of its best players, including captain Sari van Veenendaal and all-time top scorer Vivianne Miedema.

Portugal almost capitalized on the Dutch misfortune immediately, but a first attempt was ruled out for offside.

Two minutes later, however, the Netherlands found their rhythm with two corners taken in quick succession by Sherida Spitse. On the second, Damaris Egurrola’s header found the back of the net to open the scoring.

As in their match against Switzerland on Saturday, Portugal conceded another early goal less than 10 minutes later.

Spitse delivered another perfectly executed corner and, although Portugal initially fended off the Dutch attack, a goal seemed inevitable as the ball ricocheted around the penalty area before Stefanie van der Gragt finally headed the ball into the net to double the lead.

Although they found themselves trailing by two goals, the Iberians started to create chances.

A promising attack could only be stopped by a Dutch foul and Carole Costa converted the resulting penalty to put her side back in contention 10 minutes before half-time.

Portugal continued their comeback, entering the second half with determination.

A brilliant save from Dutch keeper Daphne von Domselaar swung the ball over the crossbar but, undeterred, the Portuguese attack continued to press and created another chance a minute later than Diana Silva ended with a head.

After equalizing from two goals, all the momentum lay with Portugal, and it took van de Donk’s otherworldly strike to put the defending champions back in front.

“We competed, and that was our goal for this game, with courage, ambition, knowing who we were playing against,” Portugal coach Francisco Neto said, according to UEFA.com.

“There were times when we weren’t as organized as we should have been, and again, a few little things made the difference. But my team showed an attitude, a determination that makes me so proud of what they have done.

The Netherlands are now on the cusp of a quarter-final top of their group with another group stage match to be played against Switzerland on Sunday.

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