Belfast Telegraph

Brave Northern Ireland come up against Dutch of class

Northern Ireland women 0 Netherlands women 5

By Graham Luney

Northern Ireland women's boss Alfie Wylie warned his players they could expect a daunting test against the Netherlands and he wasn't wrong.

The European champions maintained their unbeaten record in World Cup qualifying Group Three with a 5-0 victory at Shamrock Park but the hosts displayed their resilience and battling qualities.

Northern Ireland have now lost five of their six qualifying matches and few gave them a chance of upsetting the dazzling Dutch in mid-Ulster.

The Netherlands were comfortable 7-0 winners when the sides met in Eindhoven in April but the girls in green were never going to accept a similar outcome last night.

Wylie wanted his side to be fiercely competitive and they fought for everything, making their slick opponents sweat for victory.

The Netherlands, however, are a class act and their pace and power made the difference after the interval.

The visitors were frustrated in the opening stages and didn't break the deadlock until the 36th minute when Lineth Beerensteyn drilled in a superb finish.

The 21-year-old Bayern Munich ace gave goalkeeper Jackie Burns little chance with a clinical low finish into the bottom corner of the net.

In the second half, however, the visitors moved up a gear and asserted their authority, rocking the home side with two quickfire goals.

Danielle van de Donk touched the ball inside the six yard box and then in the 65th minute Shanice van de Sanden netted her side's third with a powerful strike.

Northern Ireland were feeling the early evening heat at this stage and in the 75th minute Sherida Spitse made it 4-0 from the penalty spot.

In the final minute the European champions made it 5-0 as Jackie Groenen wrong-footed Burns and found the top corner after clever approach play.

It was a cruel end for Wylie's side who came up against powerful opponents.

Northern Ireland sit fourth in their qualifying group, 13 points behind the table-topping Netherlands who have scored 20 goals and conceded none in their five qualifying fixtures.

Northern Ireland: Burns, Simpson, Nelson, Rafferty, Newborough, McFadden (Sherwood 64), Callaghan, Furness, Vance, McGuinness (Bell 85), Smyth (Milligan 58). Subs not used: Foy, Sherwood, Perry, McMaster, Holdaway.

Belfast Telegraph

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