Netherlands and Spain make their point

Spain 1-1 Netherlands
Pia Rijsdijk struck four minutes into the second half to earn the Oranje a share of the Group B spoils as goalkeeper Laura du Ry kept Spain at bay.

Spain right-back Marina Agoues fends off Netherlands winger Nadia Coolen
©Sportsfile

Pia Rijsdijk struck four minutes into the second half to earn the Netherlands a 1-1 draw with Spain in a hard-fought Group B opener.

Rijsdijk cancelled out Naiara Beristain's 11th-minute opener, but the Oranje were just as indebted to Laura du Ry. The goalkeeper pulled off a string of saves as the game wore on as Spain hammered at the door – it was certainly no repeat of when these sides met precisely a year ago, the Oranje winning 2-0.

Spain coach Ángel Vilda spoke before the game about adopting the national style, incessantly pressing when out of possession and hypnotising with a passing game when in it. The intent – if not always the application – was there from the off as they forced error after error from a nervous Netherlands side, and on 11 minutes they had their reward.

Olga García drew a foul from Desiree van Lunteren on the edge of the box and though Nagore Calderón's well-struck free-kick came back off the crossbar, Beristain forced in the rebound. It was not the soother the Oranje needed. But for Du Ry's reflexes to deny Ana Buceta from range and a lack of composure from Iraia Pérez de Heredia after García sent her clear, it could have been worse.

Gradually they gained a tentative foothold before stamping out Spain's lead at the start of the second period. Lieke Martens was the provider, stepping outside Leila Ouahabi on the right and squaring for Rijsdijk, five metres out, to coolly dispatch beyond Sandra Paños.

Game on. Alexia Putellas snatched at a chance at one end, Paños dived at Martens' feet at the other, but as the half wore on Spain looked the likely winners. The Netherlands were indebted to Du Ry, who prevailed in a one-on-one with Beristain – Van Lunteren's brilliant block denying García on the rebound – before pushing substitute Leire Fernández's effort onto the bar.

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