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Honours even as Norway and Netherlands draw

Norway 0-0 Netherlands
Synne Hansen and Simone Kets were both denied by the woodwork as a tense Group A opener ended all-square in Sarpsborg.

The Netherlands' Dominique Janssen gets in a challenge on Norway forward Synne Jensen
The Netherlands' Dominique Janssen gets in a challenge on Norway forward Synne Jensen ©NFF

Norway and the Netherlands were both denied by the woodwork as their UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship Group A opener ended with honours even in Sarpsborg.

Synne Hansen rattles bar for hosts after ten minutes
Kets also denied by frame of the goal before the hour
Dutch without Kuikstra (banned), Miedema (injured)
"It was the survival of the fittest," says Koolhof
Scotland claim historic win elsewhere in Group A

The Netherlands had the better of a nervy opening, with Jeslynn Kuijpers going close to giving them a dream start, but Norway soon had the initiative. Synne Hansen and Sigrid Hansen were at the heart of much of their better play, their pace and combinations creating space in midfield.

The Netherlands back line dealt with their through balls easily enough – their biggest problems were born in their own complacency. There was early warning when the dallying Dominique Janssen allowed Synne Jensen to steal possession and test Jennifer Vreugdenill. It was not heeded.

Three minutes later the Netherlands seemed to misjudge either where their keeper was or how fast an innocuous-looking through ball was rolling towards her and Synne Hansen pounced, firing a shot that rattled the bar. The Netherlands did not need telling a third time as they closed ranks.

The match became taut, with both teams reluctant to leave themselves exposed and the defences holding sway. The isolated forwards had to survive on slim pickings. Simone Kets so nearly found reward for her endeavour before the hour as she beat Aurora Mikalsen to the ball on the edge of the box, poking it past the keeper but against the upright.

Normal service resumed, and while defensive fatigue played a part in a lively finale neither team could quite capitalise.

Jarl Torske, Norway coach
I predicted a tight game but thought both teams might score because we're offensive sides. A draw is okay, really, a fair result after a tough game. The first game is always a bit tense. The players must have been because they made so many mistakes with their passing and possession – it surprised and disappointed me. We wasted a lot of possibilities. We made too many simple mistakes, though Holland can take some credit for that. Result – okay; the performance could have been better.

André Koolhof, Netherlands coach
The game went pretty much the way I expected it to. From the beginning Norway were a bit more ready, we suffered a few nerves and they had the chances in the first half. We made a number of mistakes as a team. We improved in the second half – our midfield, our goalkeeper – and created many chances of our own. Neither team played particularly well, with lots of turnover of possession. It was an open match: the survival of the fittest as I said to my counterpart.