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Gulbrandsen rescues Norway against Netherlands

Norway 1-0 Netherlands
Solveig Gulbrandsen brought her vast experience to bear to fire Norway to a vital victory which leaves them well placed to qualify.

Gulbrandsen rescues Norway against Netherlands
Gulbrandsen rescues Norway against Netherlands ©UEFA.com

Solveig Gulbrandsen, who quit the game three years ago before making a comeback, showed the way forward for Norway's talented youngsters by firing the second-half winner which leaves the two-time champions well placed to qualify from UEFA Women's EURO 2013 Group B.

The 32-year-old midfielder sent a rising shot into the net ten minutes into the second half to reward Norway's best spell of the game and give them the leadership of the section on four points. It was a disappointing way for the Netherlands to follow up their impressive draw with Germany and they now have it all to do against Iceland in their final group game.  

Norway were soon up to speed, dominating the ball and closing down their opponents high up the pitch. A delicious Maren Mjelde cross from the right found Ada Hegerberg stretching every centimetre to head towards goal but not beyond Loes Geurts. Then from Ingvild Stensland’s corner Marit Christensen claimed the vital touch only to find Sherida Spitse stooping on the line to clear.

When Netherlands got their possession game working their supporters had to show patience because they spent some time going nowhere fast. However, they have some influential players with Renée Slegers covering a lot of central ground while Manon Melis came in the picture in the 14th minute, prodding goalwards after Kirsten van de Ven displayed her trickery for the first time.

Christensen again showed her threat from set-pieces with a header at the start of the second half that bounced off the post, but though the game continued to produce promising moments at either end, Norway were now the team setting the agenda.

Caroline Graham Hansen could not take advantage of a couple of openings but Gulbrandsen showed her and Norway's other youngsters the value of positive intent: driving forward from outside the area to give herself space to lash a shot high into the net.

Hansen followed that by lifting her attempt too high. Shortly after, she once more left her defender befuddled before firing across the face of goal. In between, Slegers chanced her arm from distance and Hjelmseth had to move sharply to tip it over. 

As the rain fell, the Dutch tried everything to restore parity, but neither Anouk Hoogendijk or Van de Ven could find a way beyond Hjelmseth.


Player of the match: Marit Christensen