After Reading FC Women duo Mandy Van Den Berg and Jade Moore helped their respective nations to opening game victories, both the Netherlands and England have continued their 100% start to the tournament.
Last Thursday evening Van den Berg again captained her nation to a 1-0 win, this time against a Denmark side who also won their opening game by the same margin, versus Belgium. Holland again sold out an 11,000-capacity Stadion Sparta in Rotterdam.
Fast forward to Sunday evening and Mark Sampson named an unchanged England side from that which trounced Scotland 6-0 last Wednesday, and his decision to do so was justified after Reading academy product Fran Kirby put the Lionesses ahead after just two minutes.
Arsenal’s Jodie Taylor then extended her bid for the tournament’s golden boot after netting five minutes from time – her fourth goal in just two games. Reading’s Jo Potter then got her first taste of action at the tournament, entering the field in the later stages of the game. Potter, 32, brought with her a calming presence, sitting in front of the back four, helping to ensure Karen Bardsley collected another clean sheet.
On Monday evening Netherlands head coach Sarina Wiegman rested Van den Berg as the Orange Lionesses faced Belgium in Tilburg in their final group game. And it made for happy viewing for the Dutch captain as she saw her team fly into the quarter-finals after goals from Spitse and Barcelona winger Martens ensured Tessa Wullaert’s 59-minute stunner didn’t spoil the orange party; the Dutch storming into the knock out rounds whilst maintaining their perfect winning record. Royals centre-half Mandy Van den Berg will now be focusing on leading her side out on Saturday, against the runners up of Group B.
England still have a single group game left – mathematically they are not quite yet there, but realistically they can plan for a place in the knock-outs. They will be looking to replicate the Netherlands’ perfect start as they face Portugal on Thursday in their last pool fixture. You can watch their final group game live on Channel 4, kicking off at 7.45pm.