The Netherlands won their first ever major tournament with a 4-2 victory over Denmark in a thrilling final on home soil.
Finals are often cagey affairs with both sides wanting to feel their way into the game and analyse their opponents. Not this one. Both the Netherlands and Denmark were determined to win and that was clear from the start. Denmark took the lead within six minutes through Nadia Nadim. Sanne Troelsgaard was tripped in the box by Kika van Es and the referee pointed to the spot immediately. Nadim stepped up to take the penalty and the Netherlands keeper Sari van Veenendaal was well beaten.
The Netherlands, who defeated England to reach the final, were not deterred by Denmark taking an early lead and equalised minutes later. Shanice van de Sanden used her phenomenal pace to get in behind the Danish defence and put in a low cross for Vivianne Miedema who scored the tap in with ease. The noise from the home crowd was deafening.
Lieke Martens had a shot saved by Danish keeper Stina Lykke Petersen as she looked to give her side the advantage. Petersen was powerless to stop her next strike. Martens controlled the ball on the edge of the box and fired a low shot just inside the post. The hosts were in charge.
Nadim was denied the chance to equalise by van Veenendaal but Pernille Harder made no such mistake. The Denmark captain cut inside after skipping down the right and thumped a low shot inside the near post. A superb individual goal from the skipper.
Both sides took a breather at half-time after a fantastic first half of football. I know I can’t remember the last time I watched a final with this much excitement.
The Netherlands continued their dominance in the second half and were back in front six minutes after the restart. Dutch captain Sherida Spitse’s free-kick completely dumbfounded Petersen and the Danish defence. Spitse put her side back in front and now both captains were on the scoresheet.
Miedema nearly had her second goal of the game with a strike from six yards but Petersen made an excellent save to keep her side in contention. Denmark were up the other end in a flash through a quick counter-attack and Katrine Veje could have made it 3-3. The woodwork had other ideas.
Another chance arose for Denmark but Frederikke Thogersen’s effort was just wide. Denmark were creating plenty of chances but continually failing to convert them.
Miedema ensured that it was game over with a minute left to play. She doubled her goal tally in the final after latching onto a high ball, turning inside the box and slotting past Petersen. One thing is for sure, all of the goals in this game were of the highest quality.
The Netherlands won their first ever major tournament in style.
The record attendance for a women’s football match was 27,093 which was set in the Netherlands’ semi-final against England. This was beaten in the final which took place at FC Twente’s home ground in Enschede.
28,182 fans turned out to see the Netherlands defeat Denmark in the Women’s Euro 2017 final.
In a thrilling game that had plenty of twists and turns, both teams should be incredibly proud. They gave their all and put on a amazing spectacle for a record crowd. Both teams were in the final for the first time but after 90 minutes it was the Netherlands who lifted the trophy, becoming only the fourth different champions in the history of the tournament. They are also the only team to win the Women’s Euro with an 100% record.
The celebrations will continue way into the night as these women realise just how historic their win is. The Netherlands finished bottom of their group at Women’s Euro 2013 and now they are European champions. What an amazing achievement.
Player of the match: Sherida Spitse
Player of the tournament: Lieke Martens