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Women's EURO Classics: Netherlands 4-2 Denmark

Watch the all-guns-blazing UEFA Women's EURO 2017 final on UEFA.tv now after reading the background here.

 Vivianne Miedema and Lieke Martens celebrate scoring a goal in the final
Vivianne Miedema and Lieke Martens celebrate scoring a goal in the final AFP via Getty Images

With two first-time finalists, the UEFA Women's EURO 2017 final was sure to offer something new, and more than delivered in terms of excitement.

WATCH IN FULL ON UEFA.tv


Context

Semi-final highlights: Netherlands v England
Semi-final highlights: Netherlands v England

The UEFA European Women's Championship had been utterly dominated by Germany for over 20 years; they won six straight editions from 1995. Their 2017 elimination by Denmark – 2-1 in the quarter-finals – therefore guaranteed a seismic shift in the finals in the Netherlands. The eventual finalists actually met in the group stage – the Dutch winning 1-0 – but Denmark boss Nils Nielsen expected something different in the Enschede decider: "In Rocky, in the first movie Apollo Creed was surprised when Rocky fought back, like we did in the second half [of the group game]. And it is going to be like the second Rocky movie: this time Rocky is going to win."

Key players

Lieke Martens: Having left Rosengård for Barcelona ahead of the tournament, 24-year-old winger Martens lit up the home side, her pace, skill and ability to play a killer pass on full display as the Dutch won their first six finals matches.

Vivianne Miedema: In 2012, the 1.75m-tall striker set a UEFA record by scoring eight goals in a single game – a WU17 EURO qualifier against Kazakhstan – and her goalscoring remained frighteningly consistent. She came to the finals fresh from completing a move from Bayern to Arsenal.

Pernille Harder wheels away after scoring the Danes' second
Pernille Harder wheels away after scoring the Danes' secondGetty Images

Pernille Harder: Star of Denmark's quarter-final scalping of champions Germany, the attack-minded Harder had proved her class in the top leagues in Europe, and headed to the EURO straight from winning a German double with Wolfsburg.

What happened

Seen as outsiders despite their finals pedigree, the Danes went ahead after five minutes, Nadia Nadim scoring from the penalty spot, but Miedema swiftly levelled and Lieke Martens fired the hosts in front. However, Denmark still had plenty of fight left, Harder rifling in to make it 2-2 and give both coaches plenty to ponder at the break.

The Dutch seemed to come out of it better, Sherida Spitse finding the target from a free-kick after the restart, yet the tension remained high until the 89th minute. Then Miedema's excellent run and finish finally put the game beyond Denmark.

Reaction

Vivianne Miedema: 'We're so happy!'
Vivianne Miedema: 'We're so happy!'

Vivianne Miedema, Netherlands forward: "We've played six amazing games and today we showed that even if we get behind, we can still change the game. The moment we scored for 3-2, I just thought: 'It's not going to go wrong again.'"

Sarina Wiegman, Netherlands coach: "It was a great final, with two teams that really wanted to play football and really wanted to win. Both teams played attacking football and six goals in an exciting match is a great advert for the women's game. I thought we deserved it, but Denmark showed they deserved to be here too."

Sari van Veenendaal, Netherlands goalkeeper: "When you looked around, everyone was orange and everyone was screaming and supporting us. This is my second home here in Enschede; I played here for five years and it's unbelievable. I'm so happy!"

Elsewhere that night

No other games on this date in UEFA competition.

Aftermath

Women’s EURO 2017: The top ten goals featuring Miedema
Women’s EURO 2017: The top ten goals featuring Miedema

The Netherlands showed their EURO success was no fluke with a terrific showing at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, winning all their group matches and then eliminating Japan, Italy and Sweden on the way to a 2-0 final loss to the United States. Goalkeeper Van Veenendaal and striker Miedema featured in the team of the tournament.

Denmark failed to make it to the World Cup in France (losing to the Netherlands in the play-offs), but have had a bright start in their bid to reach the next Women's EURO, winning their first five qualifying games without conceding. The Netherlands, meanwhile, have won all six of their Group A matches.

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