Netherlands top group with hard-fought win over Canada

Canadians also through while Cameroon qualify as a third placed team

Netherlands’ Lineth Beerensteyn celebrates scoring their second goal during the Women’s World Cup Group E game against Canada at Stade Auguste-Delaune in  Reims. Photograph:  Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Netherlands’ Lineth Beerensteyn celebrates scoring their second goal during the Women’s World Cup Group E game against Canada at Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims. Photograph: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

 

Netherlands 2 Canada 1

Reigning European champions the Netherlands secured top spot in Group E at the Women’s World Cup, maintaining their 100 per cent record with a hard-fought 2-1 victory over Canada in Reins.

Bayern Munich striker Lineth Beerensteyn grabbed the winner 15 minutes from time after Christine Sinclair had scored in her fifth successive World Cup to quickly cancel out Anouk Dekker’s 54th-minute opener.

Both sides went into the game knowing they had qualified for the last 16 after winning their opening two games against Cameroon and New Zealand, with the match settling who would top the group and finish runner-up.

Cameroon finished with three points and advanced as one of the best third-placed teams thanks to a last-gasp 2-1 win against New Zealand in Montpellier.

The game started in controversial fashion as inside two minutes referee Stephanie Frappart awarded Canada a penalty when Janine Beckie was fouled on the edge of the area by Desiree Van Lunteren.

But as Sinclair lined up to take the spot-kick, a VAR review that took almost three minutes to reach a conclusion, led to Frappart awarding a free-kick three yards outside the area that Sinclair tamely struck into the wall.

Despite the Dutch dominating, Canada had the ball in the back of the net in the 22nd minute, only for Jordyn Huitema to be adjudged offside after slotting home underneath the advancing Sari Van Veenendaal.

It was Holland who came closest to making the breakthrough in the first half, with Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema striking the base of a post with an angled shot on the turn, followed by Gunners team-mate Danielle Van de Donk’s stunning 16-yard bicycle kick landing on the roof of the net.

Nine minutes after the break Holland then deservedly took the lead, with Montpellier midfielder Dekker heading home an inswinging free-kick from Sherida Spitse from seven yards.

But just six minutes later Canada were on level terms, with Sinclair superbly turning home at the far post a teasing low ball into the six-yard box from Ashley Lawrence.

However, 15 minutes from time Holland sealed the three points with Beerensteyn, on as a substitute five minutes earlier, starting and finishing an incisive move by sliding home a Van Lunteren cross from three yards.

Holland will now face 2015 runner-up Japan in Rennes next Tuesday, while Canada take on the winners of Group F, either Sweden or the United States, in Paris on Monday.

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