Vivianne Miedema was the shining star as the Netherlands found their way through a defensively strong Russia side with a 4-0 win.
Russia keep it tight
Clearly the better team not just on paper but on the pitch, the Dutch got the ball rolling, unable to find a clear shot through the sitting defence in the box the onus was on Sherida Spitse to wrap one from just outside the box, her shot turned against the bar for the first corner of the game.
Unfortunately for Russia it was all Holland, the Easter Europeans granted little in the way of attack however they seemed comfortable enough behind the ball and reduced the Oranje’s chances greatly. The next best chance for the visitors didn’t arrive until the 25 minute when Vivianne Miedema thundered a shot against the crossbar from outside the box, a handful of previous corners and free kicks well dealt with by the opposition.
Once more it was Miedema that was calling Julia Grinchenko into action as she turned the attacker’s shot from close range around the post for another lacklustre corner. Holland continued to knock on the door but the Russian backline refused to answer, Grinchenko bright to deny Miedema once again before the Netherlands floated in a number of corners failing to get change out of them.
Miedema breaks the deadlock
Corner after corner was defended, blocked and sent for another, Anouk Dekker’s header turned onto the roof of the net by the keeper for another flurry of set-pieces. The Russian defence finally undone as Miedema met the ball well in the air to nod beyond Grinchenko, the ball coming to rest in the far corner.
The second-half was much the same as the first, Holland immediately trying to press and Russia doing well to dispel every advance, last ditch headers and blocks keeping the revitalised Dutch attack out.
After being so defensively firm it was a ball slipped through to the Munich striker that undid the Russians just before the hour. With red shirts massing around her the rangy striker seemed untroubled as she knocked the ball around the goalkeeper before rolling it into the waiting net.
All one way
Though there was little goal mouth option both teams were putting in a shift, those in blue desperate to add to their tally and find another route to goal, those in red staunch in their defensive responsibilities. A rare Russian attack lead to their first shot on target of the game as Loes Geurts saved Elena Morozova’s low strike, the clock read 70 minutes.
The fatigue began to tell for Russia who were starting to leave gaps at the back, keen to exploit the space Lineth Beerensteyn was alert to nip in with the ball and tuck the ball beyond a felled Grichenko. Even three goals up there was plenty of time left for Holland to continued to attack in numbers, Jill Roord unlucky to see her neat ball turned just wide by the alert keeper.
With precious little time left on the clock there was still enough to Miedema to wrap up her hat trick, lively enough in the box to worm away from the defence and place the ball beyond the keeper.