Dunedin, July 23 (BNA): Stephanie van der Graagt scored with a 13th-minute header to lead the Netherlands to a 1-0 victory over Portugal in the Women’s World Cup on Sunday as the 2019 finalists began their run in the tournament.
The Dutch defender collected herself as teammate Sherida Spetsi lifted a corner kick into her path, then headed the ball across on goal into the far side of the net. The Associated Press (AP) reported that an offside review delayed the ceremony.
The goal, scored by the 30-year-old van der Gragt, who plans to retire after the Women’s World Cup, was the fastest goal of the tournament. The Dutch controlled the tempo of the match and Portugal’s first shot of the game didn’t come until the 82nd minute.
The meeting with the Netherlands, ranked No. 9 in the world, marked Portugal’s first appearance at the tournament.
On hand were 11,991 spectators, sheltered from the rain inside Dunedin’s Forsyth-Barr covered stadium, better known as the Glasshouse, which has a capacity of 25,947.
Although most of the crowd appeared to be Dutch fans, a small but solid group of Portuguese fans dressed in flags and team clothes were beating drums throughout the match, the rhythm reverberating throughout the stadium.
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