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World Cup 2018

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Brave effort but Northern Ireland girls taught lesson by the classy Dutch

Holland women 7-0 Northern Ireland women

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland were handed a harsh lesson and a hammering by the Netherlands in their Women's World Cup qualifier in Eindhoven.

Roared on by 30,000 fans, the Dutch delivered a dynamic display to win 7-0 against Alfie Wylie's side.

The visitors were always going to be up against it taking on the European Champions and but for a fine display by goalkeeper Emma Higgins the scoreline could have been doubled.

The result means Northern Ireland stay in fourth place in Group 3 with three points from their four matches while the Netherlands, like the Republic of Ireland, have 10 points.

Higgins had already made some saves before the home side broke the deadlock on nine minutes through Lieke Martens.

The lead was doubled on 17 minutes with Martens again on target, this time a header.

Before the half-hour mark it was 3-0 with Vivianne Miedema finding the net.

Any chance of Wylie's players pulling off a sensational result had evaporated with a blinding start from Europe's finest. It was 4-0 by the time the teams walked off for the interval with Sherida Spitse converting a penalty.

Miedema hit the woodwork early in the second period before Northern Ireland, through skipper Marissa Callaghan, had their first shot on goal.

Shanice van de Sanden (63) and Spitse (76) made it six and the scoring was completed in the 93rd minute when Billie Simpson netted an own goal.

No wonder the Dutch are among the favourites for the World Cup finals. They still have to get there though because the Republic of Ireland are matching them every step of the way.

Last night at Tallaght Stadium, the Irish beat Slovakia 2-1 to join them at the head of the group.

Only the table-toppers at the end of the campaign are sure to qualify for the 2019 finals.

The Republic host the Netherlands on Tuesday in what promises to be a cracker.

On the same evening, Northern Ireland must lift themselves for their clash at Shamrock Park versus Norway.

NETHERLANDS: Van Veenendaal, Van der Gragt, Van de Sanden, Spitse, Miedema, Van de Donk, Martens, Groenen, Worm, Janssen, Van der Most. Subs: Jansen for Van der Most (59), Roord for Martens (64), Beerensteyn for van de Sanden (69). Not used: Vreugdenhil, Zeeman, Dekker, Van Dongen.

NORTHERN IRELAND: Higgins, Newborough, Foy, Rafferty, Hutton, Sherwood, Callaghan, Furness, McFadden, McGuinness, Simpson. Subs: Bell for Sherwood (45), Nelson for Newborough (45), Holdaway for McFadden (77). Not used: Perry, Lindsay, Wilson, McPartlan.

Referee: Monika Mularczyk (Poland).

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