1-0, min. 22, Islacker. 2-0, min. 27, Islacker. 2-1, min. 38, Spitse. 3-1, min. 40, Mittag. 4-1, min. 44, Kemme. 4-2, min. 88, Miedema.
Germany 4-2 Netherlands: Arjan van der Laan’s Oranje continue to learn

Germany 4-2 Netherlands: Arjan van der Laan’s Oranje continue to learn

A comfortable win for the hosts as Steffi Jones continues to evaluate her options

Sophie Lawson

First-half goals from Mandy Islacker, Anja Mittag and Tabae Kemme were enough for a dominant Germany side to secure a 4-2 win at home to the Netherlands

Slow burner

The game started slowly, the hosts and current Olympic champions expectedly with the lion’s share of possession but unable to fully get beyond the defence for the opening exchanges. The counter-attacking Oranje had similar problems on the ball, Shanice van de Sanden without an opportunity to use her lightening pace to get in behind, Vivianne Miedema forced to hunt of the ball in her own half.

The best chance of a muted first twenty minutes fell to Anna Blässe, Sari van Veenendaal’s corner punch falling to the defender just outside of the box for Blässe to strike on the half-volley. Her goal-bound effort snuffed out by Merel van Dongen in front of her diving 'keeper. Mandy Islacker’s angled shot from just inside the box keeping van Veenendaal honest, the stopper just beaten but the ball slipping wide after an unfavourable bounce just in front of the goal-line.

The hosts finally claimed the lead at the mid-way point of the first-half, Dzsenifer Marozsán’s neat ball through the back-line fell to Mandy Islacker for the Frankfurter to knock the ball beyond the 'keeper from close range. The Dutch protests of offside fell on deaf ears although replays confirm a strong case for the visitors.

The lead was swiftly doubled as the hosts amped up the pressure, Marozsán’s turn and shoot from just outside the box crashed against the underside of the bar, rebounding into the turf behind van Veenendaal. The 'keeper completely caught out as Islacker sprinted beyond the stricken defence to slam the ball into the roof of the net as the Arsenal number one was left to claw at the air above her head once again.

Short-lived hope

The Netherlands were given a lifeline when captain Sherida Spitse powered her spot-kick past Almuth Schult after Anna Blässe had gone in late on Danielle van de Donk. The come-back however, was short lived as Anja Mittag rocketed one past van Veenendaal from outside the box, the 'keeper with a finger-tip to the ball but unable to prevent the goal. With orange shirts in the box, German were happy enough to shoot from distance, but the defence was simply not firm enough.

Tessel Middag’s hopeful shot from range flew harmlessly wide as the visitors showed their nerves across the pitch, a two goal deficit turning into three as Tabea Kemme volleyed Mittag’s deep cross clinically into the far corner. Kika van Es allowing Kemme plenty of space to connect as three players desperately tracked back to chase Mittag, an abundance of space an early Christmas present for the hosts.

The visitors improved at the break, and had a happier second-half, with more joy in midfield to keep the hosts a little further from their goal. A more rigid shape helped to keep van Veenendaal shielded as orange shirts camped in their own half, a persistent German threat unable to add a fifth. Mittag, Alexandra Popp and Sara Däbritz all firing tamely wide before the hour.

The game dragged on with the away defence stretched to breaking point, the hosts hungry for another as Lina Magull’s lay-off found Däbritz outside the box, the Bayern Munich attacker only able to dent the crossbar with her lashed effort. The substitutes came thick and fast and only caused to unsettle the game as it ground to a finish.

The visiting Dutch did well to reduce the deficit to two goals once again late in the game, with the match already well over Lineth Beerensteyn cute ball to a largely anonymous Miedema was the best service the attacker had received over the match. With substitute Laura Benkarth coming off of her line the Munich striker remained composed to fire past the young custodian from the edge of the box, a late conciliation in a match that was more about learning than winning. Steffi Jones far from happy on the touchline as neither keeper could keep a clean sheet in what should have been a routine win.