Football Ferns lose to Netherlands

Shanice van de Sanden scored two goals within the opening 20 minutes against the Football Ferns. Photo / Getty
Shanice van de Sanden scored two goals within the opening 20 minutes against the Football Ferns. Photo / Getty

The Football Ferns have been beaten 2-0 by the Netherlands on Friday morning (NZ time) after a quick-fire double from lively right winger Shanice van de Sanden in the first half secured the international friendly.

The Netherlands, who missed qualification for the Rio Olympics through the European qualifiers, played like a team with a point to prove at the IJmond Stadion against the Brazil-bound Ferns in the fine and cool conditions.

The hosts got off to a perfect start when right winger van de Sanden used her pace to break clear down the right flank. She delivered a clinical finish to beat keeper Erin Nayler for a 1-0 lead after eight minutes.

Nine minutes later, the 23-year-old who plays her football for Liverpool FC with Kiwi Rosie White who began on the bench in this clash, doubled her tally in a carbon copy of the first goal.

The Netherlands midfield - with inspirational playmaker Lieke Martens back in the national side - again got the better of the Kiwis and van de Sanden made the most of her second chance in space to score twice from as many opportunities in front of goal.

At the other end of the park, Ferns' right winger Katie Bowen found some space for the Kiwis best chance in the frantic first 30 minutes. The Kansas City player opted to try and find striker Amber Hearn rather than taking on the keeper and the move broke down.

The World No 16 Kiwis looked to fight back coming into the final 10 minutes before the break but they could not penetrate the staunch defence of the home side.

Hearn, who became the first Kiwi footballer to score 50 goals for their country at the recent Algarve Cup in Portugal, had few clear chances in front of goal as the Kiwis lacked the crucial touch in the final third of the field.

After the break, Football Ferns coach Tony Readings tried to ignite his attack when he brought on White for Kirsty Yallop in the 70th minute, and the Liverpool midfielder made an immediate impact.

The Kiwis delivered their best period of the match - Hearn had a free header alongside goal from a corner in one of the best chances of the second half - but they could not convert their few goal scoring opportunities.

Martens showed her quality in the final few moments of the game when she came close to scoring from outside the box, it sailed wide of the right post but would have had Nayler in trouble.

The Dutch midfielder, who missed their qualifying fixtures for Rio, showed her class throughout and will be a central figure for the home side when they host the European Championships in 2017.

The New Zealand side, who will find out who they are playing when the draw for Rio is made on Thursday next week, will regroup following this fixture with four games scheduled ahead of the Olympics in August.

The Football Ferns got what they expected from the World No 12 Netherlands, who delivered a fast and clinical performance, which is the standard they expect to come up against at the Olympics in their quest to be among the medals.

Final Score
Netherlands 2 (van de Sanden 8' 17') New Zealand 0

- NZ Herald

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