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Dutch on brink of quarter finals
 Women's Football Euros News - 23 Jul 2017
Euro 2017 tournament hosts, the Netherlands, are on the verge of qualifying for the quarter finals after a hard earned 1-0 win over Denmark in their second group match.
Both teams went into the game having won their opening fixtures and it was the Dutch who broke the deadlock in the 19th minute, Sherida Spitse finding the corner of the net from the penalty spot after Nanna Christiansen had tripped Danielle van de Donk as she broke into the area.
Denmark should have been level a minute later as Pernille Harder seized on a poor pass but, with only Sari van Veenendaal to beat, she shot straight at the keeper.
Holland continued to have the better of things in the first half with Shanice van de Sanden in great form on the right, aided by the excellent hold up play of Vivienne Miedema, who headed a decent chance wide and a looping header from Lieke Martens landed on the roof of the net.
Denmark started the second half strongly and had another glorious chance to level when Harder played in Sanne Troelsgaard but she shot over the bar. With Harder commanding matters in midfield, the Danes continued to press and the chances continued to fall Troelsgaard's way, first her shot was blocked by Anouk Dekker before putting the rebound wide.
Van Veenendaal made a brave save at the feet of Harder who then produced a superb defence splitting pass to release Troelsgaard on goal but her tame effort was gratefully gathered by van Veenendaal.
The Dutch managed to hold out under severe Danish pressure and went within inches of doubling their lead, a Spitse free kick from the edge of the area which hit the side netting. However one more great chance was to fall Denmark's way, Harder driving a free kick into the area where Nadia Nadim's header flew straight at van Veenendaal, before they could finally see out a result which puts them in pole position in Group A.
Norway however are facing a shock elimination at the group stage after they were beaten 2-0 by Belgium in Breda. Twice winners and runners-up in two of the last three tournaments, they were not helped by a poor offside decision for the first goal but Belgium were worthy of their first ever Finals victory.
An enterprising start from the Belgians saw Elke van Gorp bring out an early save from Ingrid Hjelmseth with a volley but at the other end, they needed to survive a scramble from a corner in which Ada Hegerberg had a shot blocked before it was cleared. Norway should then have gone ahead when Caroline Hansen volleyed over from close range.
Back came Belgium with Tessa Wullaert driving a low ball across the face of goal which just evaded Tine de Caigny but an entertaining first half was to somehow end goalless.
The game continued to go from end to end after the break until a controversial goal saw Belgium go ahead just before the hour. Cayman played the ball in from the left, Hjelmseth spilled the cross and van Gorp, despite looking to be two or three yards offside, slotted home from close range.
Just seven minutes later, a long throw into the area was not dealt with by the Norwegian defence, and Cayman stole in unmarked to head in the second goal from six yards.
Norway could not find a way back into the game, coming closest when Hansen had a shot blocked and Maren Mjelde was just over with a free kick. Belgium were largely untroubled during six minutes of injury time and they can look forward to their much anticipated clash with the Netherlands on Monday.

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