Goals from Georgia Stanway, Lauren Hemp and Ella Toone secured a vital victory in the Women’s Nations League after trailing two goals to nil at halftime, keeping Olympic qualification chances alive.
England started the game with aggression, pressing and harrying the Dutch defenders with real intent. Hemp forced an excellent save from Aston Villa goalkeeper Daphne Van Domselaar in the opening exchanges.
However, it was the Netherlands who opened the scoring. Victoria Pelova’s pinpoint pass found Lineth Beerensteyn who finished coolly in the box after the ball fell kindly between her, Jess Carter and Lucy Bronze.
The Dutch pressure continued. Jill Roord struck the bar soon after and it felt inevitable a second goal would soon follow.
It was Beernsteyn again who added to the Netherlands lead. Poor defending for England allowed the Juventus forward in behind to score at Mary Earps’ near post. The stand-in England captain would feel as if she could have done better to stop the effort.
England needed a fast start to the second half if they were to get anything from this game.
Step up Georgia Stanway
Lauren James’ cross found an unmarked Stanway in the box and the Bayern Munich midfield duly headed home to reduce the deficit.
Minutes later, England drew level and Stanway was involved again.
Second-half substitute Beth Mead, making her first England appearance in eleven months, found Stanway on the edge of the box to lay the ball off to Hemp to curl home, capping her 50th appearance for England with the equalising goal.
The comeback was completed in the 90th minute, Lauren James’ crossing again proving critical. This time Toone was the recipient. Her darting run to the back post was found by James. Toone did the rest, drilling the ball between Van Domselaar’s legs to seal an improbable victory.
After the game, Mead said about her first game back for England “Pretty Incredible. The days when I struggled in the gym and not being able to play football and do the thing that I love, make today worthwhile when you get such a great reception.
Hemp also added “Obviously that was a vital win. We got ourselves in a sticky situation, obviously going down two nil at halftime. But to come back to win 3-2 shows our character.
I’ve got fifty appearances in an England shirt and I’m so proud”.
England will need to beat Scotland on Tuesday and hope that the Netherlands drop points against Belgium to qualify for the semi-final.
Alternatively, England can still qualify if the Dutch beat Belgium but will need a superior goal difference to do so.
England: Earps(GK) Bronze, Charles, Walsh, Greenwood, Carter(Daly 85) (Morgan 63) Kelly (Mead 45), Stanway (Toone 67) Kirby(Russo 67) James, Hemp
Subs not used: Hampton (GK), Keating (GK), Wubben-Moy, Zelem, Clinton, Le Tissier, Turner,
Netherlands: Van Domselaar, Djkstra, Roord, Beerensteyn, Spitse,(Van Dongen,69) Van de Donk (Van de Sanden 84) Martens, Groenen (Egurrola 45) Pelova(Jansen 63) Janssen(Casparji), Brugts
Subs not used: Weimar (GK), Lorsheyed(GK), Wilms, Leucther, Miedema, Snoeijs, Casparij, Kaptein,
Referee: Tess Olofsson (Sweden)