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Late salvo earns Netherlands friendly win

Netherlands 3-0 Northern Ireland
Chantal de Ridder, Marlous Pieëte and Desiree van Lunterenall scored late on to ensure the Netherlands head for Sweden in high spirits.

Marlous Pieëte (left) scored the Netherlands' second goal against Northern Ireland
Marlous Pieëte (left) scored the Netherlands' second goal against Northern Ireland ©UEFA.com

The Netherlands rounded off their preparations for UEFA Women's EURO 2013 with a 3-0 friendly win against Northern Ireland in Velsen.

Though the Oranje Lionnesses took charge from the off as expected, they had a hard time picking a way through the Northern Ireland defence. Coach Roger Reijners had opted to rest key players such as Manon Melis, Sherida Spitse and Lieke Martens, and his side were forced to wait for victory.

Anouk Dekker went close with a header, while Renée Slegers and Kirsten van de Ven also threatened to break the deadlock. Dekker was forced off with a nose injury early in the second half, but the Netherlands still nearly took the lead when Mandy Versteegt hit a post and Van de Ven's attempt was blocked.

After Merel van Dongen had come on to make her full international debut, it was another second-half substitute, Chantal de Ridder, who finally found the back of the net. De Ridder's finish from Van de Ven's cross with eight minutes left set the ball rolling, with Marlous Pieëte soon adding a second from close range before Desiree van Lunteren completed the scoring late on.

The Netherlands begin their finals campaign against holders Germany next Thursday in Vaxjo, with Norway and Iceland also in Group B. Northern Ireland are preparing for 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying, which they begin in Scotland on 26 September in a group also containing Sweden.