The key events:
32 mins: Another Dutch corner, and once again the Portuguese defense look all out to sea. It’s another free header for Van der Gragt, but this time Pereira wins the ball back!
30 mins: Portugal continue to do their job, patiently passing the ball and refusing to panic. They work the pitch cleanly here, before Pinto’s well-hit guns swerve away from Dominique Janssen.
28 mins: Pinto is squeezed out in midfield, with Spitse looking for Martens with a fastball that is cut in well by Gomes.
25 mins: Portugal look fragile in defense but they still offer a threat in attack. Diana Silva hangs on to a ball through Norton but opts for an ambitious lob across goal that drifts over the bar.
23 mins: Oof, it should have been three – Martens finds more space behind, and his cross finds Van de Donk at the far post, but the shot on goal misses.
21 mins: With Portugal playing on such a high line, it’s up to their keeper to rush in and manage the balls. She does it very well here, pulling out a boot to clear with Beerensteyn heading for goal. Ines Pereira was an outfield player at Estoril, so she has that in her wheelhouse.
Amado is reserved for this tall boot – a bit harsh, if you ask me. Portugal are down two again, and you wouldn’t count on them to draw this time around – they look so vulnerable from set pieces.
New Dutch corner, and the defending champions double their lead! The ball bounced into the box and was half cleared – only for Martens’ volley to deflect into the path of Stefanie van der Gragt, who scores with a diving header. The centre-back is kicked in the face for his issues and needs treatment.
14 mins: Diana Silva gets the better of right-back Wilms, slashing the ball and rushing down the touchline – but Van der Gragt manages to intercept well.
12 mins: Pereira has to run away from his line to clear a long ball, as the underdogs look to settle things again. Van de Donk has a long shot, but the Portuguese keeper is safe behind.
“Recall that this Portugal team is pretty much in the same situation as the Denmark men’s team in 1992. They too drew their first game before moving on to… well, we all know what they have. succeeded after that”, wrote Charles Antaki, well and truly bewitched Portugal just before that corner was taken.
9 minutes: big stop! Van de Donk plays Beerensteyn, who looks up and fires an upward shot towards the near post – but Pereira leaps to return it!
Portugal will be so disappointed to concede a free kick, after such an encouraging start. And their opponents could be in the game again…
And from Spitse’s second delivery, Damaris Egurrola goes the highest and sends a looping header off the bar!
6 mins: The Netherlands get a corner kicked by a Portuguese defender. They leave…
5 minutes: Portugal believe they have taken the lead, with Ana Borges coming home after a cross from Diana Silva – but the flag is up, correctly but a bit late. A warning for the Dutch, who started slowly.
3 minutes: Andreia Norton drives away from her marker and fires in a cross, but Portugal lack numbers in the middle. Moments later, Borges is flagged offside but crosses over Pinto, who pulls off a save from Van Domselaar before the referee stops…
1 minute: Egurrola is penalized for a push on Diana Silva in midfield. Portugal move down and Tatiana Pinto deflects an awkward shot.
The referee, the Croatian Ivana Martincic, launches us. The Dutch are all orange while Portugal sport their mint green change kit.
Portugal have high-level support in the stands; I just saw Rúben Dias, João Cancelo and Bernardo Silva take their seats. All three play for Manchester City’s men’s team and traveled to Leigh for the game.
Besides this trio, the crowd is mostly dressed in orange, as expected. Both groups of teams came out for the anthems.
Holland fans love a little orange.
Previous: These two teams have not met in competition since the 2015 World Cup qualifiers, when the Dutch won 3-2 at home – and 7-0 in Portugal. Vivianne Miedema has scored hat-tricks in both games – the Portuguese defenders could be relieved that she is unavailable tonight.
This week’s Moving the Goalposts newsletter is all about Alexia Putellas and the struggle of recovering from an ACL injury.
At the start of the Group C match, he finished Sweden 2-1 Switzerland. Here is the match report from Maryam Naz of Bramall Lane.
Mark Parsons has reshuffled his squad with Vivianne Miedema and Jackie Groenen with Covid-19. Two emerging talents come into play, in left-back form Marisa Olislager and midfield Damaris Egurrola. Daphne van Domselaar remains in goal after replacing the injured Sari van Veenendaal in the draw against Sweden.
For Portugal, Francisco Neto starts with the same starting XI that scored a point against Switzerland on this ground. You can find out more about all the players here:
Netherlands (4-3-3): Van Domselaar; Wilms, Van der Gragt, Dominique Janssen, Olislagers; Spitse (c), Roord, Egurrola; Van de Donk, Beerensteyn, Martens.
Subs: Weimar, Lorsheyd, Van Dongen, Pelova, Renate Jansen, Dijkstra, Leuchter, Casparij, Brugts.
Portugal (4-3-3): Pereira; Amado, Gomes, Carole Costa, Marchão; Norton, Dolores Silva (c), Tatiana Pinto; Borges, Jessica Silva, Diana Silva.
Replacements: Morais, Rute Costa, Correia, Rebelo, Pires, Marques, Fátima Pinto, Alves, Mendes, Nazareth, Faria, Encarnação.
Euro 2022 has had a lot to recommend so far: heavyweight clashes, landslide wins, dramatic comebacks – but the group stages have yet to see a shake-up of the status quo. Could it happen here? The Netherlands will be heavy favorites, but there are reasons for the orange-clad army in the stands to feel nervous.
Portugal are the second lowest ranked team in the tournament, qualifying following the expulsion of Russia. After falling 2-0 to Switzerland in five minutes, the underdogs dug in impressively and were unlucky not to win the match, instead settling for a 2-2 draw which proved that they belonged to these finals.
As the Swiss push Sweden hard in today’s opener, Group C is shaping up to be the most competitive. The Dutch are in uneven form and a growing list of absentees leaves Mark Parsons’ side vulnerable, despite a commendable fightback from them to claim a draw against Sweden in their opener.
It’s a chance for the defending champions to finally make it to this tournament, and an opportunity for Portugal to really put themselves on the map. Kick off: 8pm (BST).