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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Daniel Harris

Netherlands 1-0 Portugal: Women’s World Cup 2023 – as it happened

Stefanie van der Gragt celebrates with her teammates.
Stefanie van der Gragt celebrates with her teammates. Photograph: Sanka Vidanagama/AFP/Getty Images

Match report

Which means this is it from me. Ta-ra!

Otherwise, our match report will be here and on site imminently, while there’s also the small matter of a little cricket match (perhaps).

Of course, this is not it; not by a long chalk. Join Sarah Rendell, immediately!

I enjoyed Beerensteyn’s performance today. She wouldn’t let the game lie, setting any tempo her side had from the front. I’d have liked a bit more composure in shooting, though; had she placed her finishes, rather than looked to leather them, she might’ve given Pereira more to think about about which to think.

We should also congratulate the officials, I think, who disallowed Van der Gragt’s goal on the pitch but weren’t shy about remedying the error after consulting VAR.

Netherlands will argue they were conserving energy, but you don’t want to ride out a 1-0 really, especially against a side that offered so little in attack. They’ll need to play with greater conviction on Thursday, when they meet USA, and I’m sure they will, but I’d have liked more quality “in and around” the box.

FULL TIME: Netherlands 1-0 Portugal

One more speculative ball forward, one more challenge from Van der Gragt, the matchwinner and player of the match, and that’s that.

Stefanie Van Der Gragt celebrates victory.
Stefanie Van Der Gragt celebrates victory. Photograph: Jose Breton/NurPhoto/Shutterstock


90+6 min Netherlands keep the ball, and Portugal will be disappointed with how easy they’ve made it. They’ve created almost nothing.

90+5 min Spitse pumps another ball into the box, Portugal allow it to bounce, and it reaches Martens who spins on the half-turn to hook a snap-shot over the top.

90+5 min Now a change for the Netherlands, Casparij of Man City replacing Pelova of Arsenal.

90+3 min Pelova does well in the corner, holding the ball then buying a free-kick off Alves. It goes short, and the Netherlands are seeing this out well enough.

90+2 min More Banyana Banyana fun.


90+2 min Alves wins a free-kick down the left and Jacinta will cross … but again, though it’s from a different player, the delivery is horrendous, so Van Domselaar pouches easily.

90 min We’ll have six additional minutes, and what a treat it is for the officials to take timekeeping seriously again. I wish they did in our domestic leagues.

88 min If the Netherlands play like this against USA, they’re in big trouble and, as I type that, Jessica Silva pulls wide and curves a lovely ball into the box to meet the run from Encarnacao – who’s made a difference – racing across from the opposite side. She waves a foot at it, trying to flick past Van Domselaar, but can’t get any purchase on the ball – I think she misses it altogether – and the keeper collects.

87 min Yup, Snoeijs of Everton replaces her for the closing stages.

86 min Beerensteyn is in trouble, a clash of knees sending her to the side. I think that’ll be her day done.

Portugal's defender Diana Gomes tackles Netherlands' forward Lineth Beerensteyn.
Portugal's defender Diana Gomes tackles Netherlands' forward Lineth Beerensteyn. Photograph: Sanka Vidanagama/AFP/Getty Images


84 min “Strange performances by both teams,” reckons Kári Tulinius. “It’s like they’re saving their energy for fixtures against the US and Vietnam. This game is certainly not a repeat of the 3-2 humdinger between these sides at last year’s Euros.”

I quite enjoyed the first half, but the Netherlands have really slowed down in the second, while Portugal have struggled to take advantage of that.

82 min Portugal are pushing now! Encarnacao does superbly, pulling right then bursting by Janssen and into the box down! There’s a shooting lane open too, but rather than pick her spot she batters the ball through it, allowing Van Domselaar to flap clear. Netherlands are in peril now, nothing more than their lackadaisical second-half approach deserves.

81 min Portgual find space outside the Netherlands box, a poor kick from Van Domselaar allowing Nazareth to win a strong challenge and the ball breaks to Jacinto, who looks to roll in Jessica Silva … but she picks out Van der Gragt instead.

80 min Now a change for the Netherlands, Van de Donk – who’s had a decent game – replaced by Egurrola.

78 min Three more changes for Portugal: Alves, Jacinto and Encarnacao replace Norton, Diana Silva and Amado.

78 min Amadao dashes by Van de Donk, who yanks her back and is booked.

77 min Again, Beerensteyn shows for the ball but, on the edge, is slow deciding what to do next so Diana Silva nips in to unload her.

75 min Jessica Silva feeds Borges, rolling a pass into her stride as she bursts down the right … and slings a miserable cross over the bar and behind. This is not, I’m afraid, a good half (of World Cup) (football).


74 min Ach, Jessica Silva gets away but a sloppy first touch allows Van der Gragt to slide in and win the challenge. She’s been excellent today, a physical presence at both ends of the pitch.

73 min Also, Brugts, who played well in the first half, has been almost anonymous this, likewise Pelova.

72 min Beerensteyn, though, is trying to get things going. Her touch can be a little untidy, but you never forget she’s playing because she’s constantly trying to make things happen.

70 min Van de Donk is down, so her mates go to the side where Jonker shows them various diagrams. Really, though, what they need to change is their mindset – there’s a lack of conviction and devil, rather than any tactical issue.

68 min I doubt Andries Jonker is liking what he’s seeing now. His side are sitting back and their passivity has invited Portugal into a game that ought already to be over.

68 min And now an attacking change for Portugal, Nazareth replacing Dolores Silva.

67 min Portgual have upped the intensity, Jessica Silva finding Tatiana Pinto down the right. Again, support isn’t quick enough to arrive, but again, this is better.

65 min Now Diana Silva finds Jessica Silva down the right, and when her cross is cleared, Dolores Silva opts not to take on the first-time shot from the edge. It’s not much, but it’s something: these last two minutes have been Portugal’s best of the match.

64 min Better from Portugal, Norton and Diana Silva exchanging passes before Van der Gragt piles into the latter. That’s an excellent, hard challenge, but concedes a corner … which comes to nothing.


62 min Norton barges Brugts from the back as Tatiana pinto challenges from the front, and Spitse will curl into the box from 40 yards out. But though her delivery is again good, a defender makes first contact and Beerensteyn is flagged offside despite that.

61 min Groenen tries a ball over the top and the lively Beerensteyn collects, ducks inside, and lashes a shot straight at Pereira.

60 min Someone needs to do something. Portugal have yet to muster an attempt on goal, and they’re letting the Netherlands cost now.

58 min It’s gone pretty quiet out there. Portugal need to get players forward, Netherlands need to inject a bit of energy.

56 min South Africa are known as Banyana Banyana, so here’s a banger in that regard from the genius that is DJ Maphorisa.

54 min I’m not sure how Portugal plan to score. 4-4-2 is generally a decent way of attacking a 3-5-2, but they’re not stretching the Netherlands in wide areas. But here’s Jessica Silva down the left, in space … but with none of her mates anywhere near her. So Groenen robs her, Silva hauls her back, and the ref shows the first yellow card of the game.

52 min A flick-on from a goalkick sends Beerensteyn barrelling towards the box, she looks to move on to Martens, on her right, and a deflection off a defender moves the ball to meet the run of Van de Donk, arriving on her left. This is a chance! But she opts to make sure her shot is on target, rather than pick a spot, and Pereira, who’s looked solid, parries to safety. That should’ve made the game safe.

50 min More nice, patient possession stuff from the Netherlands, making little triangles down the right before going backwards to try and Portugal on. But then they lose the ball and one pass in behind sees Jessica Silva in space. She’s under pressure from two defenders, though, so rushes her shot which Van Domselaar saves … then the flag goes up.

49 min Netherlands knock it around nicely enough. It’s worth noting, though, that for all their dominance, they’ve only created two chances, both from corners. That’ll need to change if they’re to do anything here, and focusing on today, as long as it’s 1-0, Portugal are in the game.

48 min I’m a little surprised Portugal are trying to play out, given their difficulties in getting decent possession in the Netherland’s half, but I respect the intention.

46 min Van der Gragt leaps above Diana Silva to head a bouncing ball, piling through her opponent at the same time; whoops etc. Silva takes treatment, but I’m sure she’ll be fine.

46 min We go again!

Our players are back with us early…

Also earlier:

But do not sleep on Kobbie Mainoo, who played beautifully. He’s got a lovely weight of pass and swagger on the ball, plus Erik ten Hag loves him. Given a fair wind, he could be a superstar.

From earlier:

HALF-TIME: Netherlands 1-0 Portugal

That was a lively and enjoyable 45, Netherlands clearly superior. Portugal haven’t had a touch in their box, but have suggested an ability to improve.

45+2 min Another Portugal free-kick, another ball that’ll go into the box – and this time from a bit nearer to it. But Dolores Silva’s delivery is too straight, so Van Domselaar comes to claim under nae pressure.

45+1 min We’ll have three minutes of added time.

45 min Here come the Netherlands again, Beerensteyn drawing in her marker then spinning to collect a throw, bouncing into the box before squaring for Van de Donk … who can’t quite fashion a shooting lane so is blocked off.

44 min


42 min In comms, they’re lamenting the absence of Miedema, and her in this team would give it an entirely new dimension. I quite like its structure though – despite a general antipathy to three at the back – because they’re still managing to create overloads out wide.

40 min The Netherlands have been impressive so far – just as well, as next for them, on Thursday, it’s USA.

39 min The Netherlands are controlling this game now, a long searcher finding Beerensteyn running the channel. Down the left side of the box, she hooks a bouncing ball into the middle, where Martens plops a header into Pereira’s arms.

37 min The Netherlands win the back ball high on the counter-press, Brugts again getting them going by pulling wide. Groenen and Roord then retrieve possession to find Martens, who escapes a challenge with a lovely sway and lovely feet … only to drag a weak shot from the edge that Pereira fields easily.

36 min Jessica Silva tells Francisco Neto, her manager, to keep calm. Which is very funny; everyone loves having that said to them, but no one loves it more than bosses, in public.

35 min “What do you reckon about Portugal’s kit?” wonders Ezra Finkelstein. “I quite like the creative design.”

Yup, as per the below, I’m a fan and, on further reflection, think it’d be great in hoody form.

33 min Van de Donk and Brugts are combining well down the left, Tatiana Pinto struggling to cope with both; she needs some help from Borges behind her.

32 min But when, eventually, the kick comes in, it’s straight at Pereira who claims under no pressure.

30 min Nice from the Netherlands, a switch hitting Brugts, again on the touchline, and she leaps well to nod bad inside for Van de Donk, who nudges past Borges and wears the inevitable foul. Another chance for Spitse to swing in, and Portugal are really struggling with these balls.

29 min I think I’ve learnt a word in Dutch. “How was your day?” “Absolutely héérlijke, mate.”


28 min Portugal win a free-kick 40 yards from goal, and it’s clear that every time they’re in that kind of position, they’re going to try and get the ball into the box. The delivery, though, is poor – in a way, this is the difference between the teams so far – and Spitse heads clear under no pressure.

26 min Fatima Pinto has some kind of minor leg-knack, so is at the side taking a bit of treatment. She’s quickly back with us, though.

24 min Nice from Groenen, releasing Van de Donk down the left, and she wins a corner. Again, Spitse’s delivery is superb, swinging in this time, and Roord’s alone inside the six-yard box! How is that possible? I’ve no idea, but she peels away well … only to redirect her header over the bar! That is a major oversight!

23 min “Offside will never make sense to me,” says Andrew Stokes. “Roord was offside for a prolonged period, standing right near the goal line. Had to be disallowed I thought.”

She was, but she didn’t affect anything. No one marked her and the keeper didn’t allow for her, so she wasn’t interfering with play – though the real football men of my childhood would say she was on the pitch, so.

22 min Since conceding, Portgual have struggled to get out of their own half. They’re still defending with decent alertness and proactivity, but need to stay in the game for the next five-10 minutes.

20 min More trouble for Portugal, Pelova running away from Tatiana Pinto, who’s had a difficult start, drawing the foul and allowing Spitse to stick another ball into the box, outside it down its right hand side. This time, though, she overhits her delivery and the ball sails behind.

18 min “It would be The Netherlands when used in a phrase, e.g. ‘Andries Jonker, Head Coach of The Netherlands,’” explains Johannes Karremans. “When in a list, however, Netherland without The is accepted. Origin: the reference is to the low countries (‘Holland’, ‘hol’ in Dutch meaning hollow, concave. More importantly, in The Netherlands the use of Holland is considered outdated and politically (and legally, btw) incorrect since a few years.”

So for our purposes, it’s “the Netherlands”. Got it.

16 min “The Dutch call it simply Nederland, which translates as Netherland,” says Marcel Meima. “|The more official name is het koninkrijk der Nederlanden, which translates as the kingdom of the Netherlands. Holland is the western part of the country, made of the provinces of Noord-Holland and Zuid-Holland. But is also used synonymous, by the Dutch as well, for the country as a whole. Being originally from the province of Groningen I of course object.”


GOAL! Netherlands 1-0 Portugal (Van der Gragt 14)

Looking again, Van der Gragt climbs all over Tatiana Pinto– it’s a blinding leap – and the ref decides Roord wasn’t interfering, which she wasn’t.

Netherlands' defender Stefanie van der Gragt celebrates with her teammates.
Netherlands' defender Stefanie van der Gragt celebrates with her teammates. Photograph: Sanka Vidanagama/AFP/Getty Images



On the line, Roord was in an offside position. She wasn’t interfering, but, so I think they’ll allow this after checking VAR.

GOAL! Netherlands 1-0 Portugal (Van der Gragt 14)

Decent delivery into the box from Spitse, Pereira thinks about coming, retreats, and on the far point of the six-yard box, Van der Gragt is up to nod firmly and well into the far corner!


12 min Brugts pulls left and Netherlands work the ball into centrefield, find Martens, and she moves on to Beerensteyn who stretches into a rising shot that Pereirea tips over…

11 min Portugal have started with a really good mixture of intensity and conviction, but here’s Janssen clipping a nice-looking ball down the line … which just runs away from Martens. It’s not quite clicked for either attack yet, but both sides are looking to go forward.

9 min A Van de Donk foul allows Portugal to stick a ball into the box, Tatiana Pinto digging a bender towards the penalty spot … but Spitse is there to head clear.

8 min Back to that Portugal team group – and I can’t lie, I’m a total mark for those – just look at their faces! They’re at the World Cup!

6 min Netherlands are beginning to assert themselves now, Roord clipping a diag which Martens nods down and back across … but Beerensteyn is offside. Still, that was the most coherent attacking move we’ve seen so far.

4 min Van der Gragt hits a big switch, centre to right, and Pelova hares in behind, but Pereira is wise to the ruse, out quickly to the edge to dive on the ball. Good, proactive keeping.

3 min What do we make of this Portugal polka-dot kit? I’m a fan – it’s stylish and fun.

portugal's polka-dotted kit

2 min Portugal are up for this, pressing high and looking to assert themselves. So Holland look to move the ball out wide to escape, but again, they’re forced backwards, Jessica Silva worrying Janssen, who goes back to Van Domselaar.

1 min A question: is is “Netherlands” or “the Netherlands” – and why?

1 min A countdown, and Netherlands get us under way.

Email! “If we’re onto commentators – fair enough, we’ve heard a good number already –” writes Charles Antaki, “then an early vote for Robyn Cowen. Does the basic stuff easily and efficiently, leaves a welcome bit of silence now and again, and manages to sound both affectionate about, and amused by, what she sees in front of her – not always easy with some of the game so far (including England – Haiti).”

Yes, agree. I’m also a big fan of Pien Meulensteen.

Portugal’s anthem is one of my low-key favourites, finishing on a proper chant. Jessica Silva, in particular, gives it absolutely everything.

netherlands grey sweatshirts
a nice blue anorak
Andries Jonker, Head Coach of Netherlands. Photograph: Matthew Lewis/FIFA/Getty Images

Anthem time! And … yes! We’re close enough to hear the players singing! Holland’s tops are smart, likewise their coats.

Here come our teams!

Portugal, though, will need to deliver a very serious performance to stop Groenen and Roord controlling this game. I’ve not seen much of Brugts, the third player in their trio, but she’s playing for PSV at 19 so will have something.

Talking about Holland’s ability to block up the middle of the park, well – Portugal’s 4-4-2, whether flat or a diamond, can do the same. If it is the latter, though, too many players ahead of the ball might be a problem, especially given the onus that’ll be on the full-backs to supply the width. Pelova and Van de Donk will fancy themselves to exploit that.

Fara Williams is one of my favourite co-commentators. She’s in the studio today, and has just invented the verb “trialling and erroring” to describe Hollands’ experimentation. Superb work.

I mentioned Pelova, and what I really like about her is her versatility. I guess in a sense, she’s like her Arsenal colleague Bukayo Saka – though they’re different styles of player – because she’s able to play in a verity of different positions at a young age, which speaks of extreme footballing intelligence.

Learn more about our players here:

As for Portugal, they’ve got two Pintos in midfield – Tatiana and Fatima – and three Silvas – Dolores in midfield, then Jessica and Diana up front. I shall do my best.

Back to our game, there’s a really solid look about the Netherlands. I doubt the long-term plan is for them to play three at back, but as they develop, the security of an extra midfielder allows them to protect their defence and keep the ball. I’m certain the better sides will target the areas behind the wing-backs, but forcing them to go wide because the middle is blocked makes sense, and actually worked really well for the men’s side in 2014 when they finished third.

Sweden have beaten South Africa. They top the group, though Italy and Argentina have still to play.

In Group G, a goal!


Netherlands (3-1-4-2-): Van Domselaar; Spitse, Van der Gragt, Janssen; Groenen; Pelova, Brugts, Roord, Van de Donk; Beerensteyn, Martens. Subs: Wilms, Nouwen, Van Dongen, Snoeijs, Baijings, Jansen, Dijkstra, Kop, Casparaji, Kaptein, Eugrrola, Weimar.

Portugal (4-4-2): Pereira; Borges, Gomes, Costa, Amado; Pinto T, Dolores Silva, Pinto F, Norton; Diana Silva, Jessica Silva. Subs: Alves, Rebelo, Marchao, Jacinto, Rodrogies, Morais, Seica, Mendes, Nazareth, Capeta, Costa, Encamacao.


If it feels like a while since the Netherlands – European champions at the time – were runners up at the 2019 World Cup, it’s because it is – in general, but especially in footballing terms.

Of course, USA, who beat them in the final, are still good, likewise England – who might perhaps have beaten them in the semis had Sarina Wiegman been their manager already, rather than in charge of Oranje. But since she took over they’ve become an entirely different proposition, while Spain, Germany and Australia are also much improved, meaning Netherlands – though improving under Andries Jonker – are no longer the force they once were.

They’re also missing the wondrous Vivianne Miedema, an annoyance from which no team could emerge stronger – though, in Victoria Pelova, her Arsenal teammate, they have a talent who might just use this tournament to announce herself to the world. And when, as other midfield options, a team also boasts Jackie Groenen, Jill Roord and Daniëlle van de Donk – with Lieke Martens up front – we’re talking about an outfit not necessarily good enough to beat as many good teams as it takes to win this thing, but certainly good enough to beat a good team on a good day.

As for their opponents today, it surely won’t be too long before Portugal are a force, but for now they’re playing catch-up. Still, they’ve been playing together for a while so know what they’re doing, have the superb Jéssica Silva up front, and saw what New Zealand pulled off against Norway. It’d be a huge shock if they won, but if everything goes right for them, they can make this interesting – and then who knows?

Kick-off: 5.30pm local, 8.30am BST

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