A pair of identical headers from corners proved France's undoing as the Netherlands began their UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship Group B campaign with a deserved victory.
Merel van Dongen gave the Jong Oranje an eighth-minute lead from Mauri van de Wetering's deep delivery, with substitute Lieke Martens ‒ on the pitch for less than 15 seconds ‒ further exposing France's aerial vulnerability ten minute before half-time. Les Bleuettes, for all they dominated possession, rarely troubled a solid Dutch rearguard, and ended a frustrating afternoon a player down after Adeline Rousseau stopped Martens from racing into the area late on.
Ellen Jansen, the eight-goal leading scorer in qualifying, played a key role in creating the opener, showing Kelly Gadea and Camille Catala a clean pair of heels down the left before forcing Solène Chauvet into a save low down at her near post. From the resulting corner, the unmarked Van Dongen nodded in at the far post.
The tall, imposing Jansen was causing the French defence all manner of problems, her pressure on Rousseau almost creating a second soon after. Carmen Manduapessij then did likewise, her raking pass finding Van de Wetering, whose inviting centre was glanced wide by Vanity Lewerissa.
When France did get in behind their opponents' back four, a succession of last-ditch blocks instead denied them. Martens, having replaced Lewerissa, showed them the way to goal with her first touch from another De Wetering delivery – some impact from the 17-year-old VVV-Venlo striker.
Content with their lead, Hesterine de Reus' team capably absorbed all France could muster after the break, and could have made the scoreline more appealing had Rousseau not halted Martens' surge towards goal. Les Bleuettes will have to regroup, minus their suspended No5, for the encounter with Spain on Thursday, when the Netherlands meet the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
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