Dutch delight: how the Netherlands won Women's EURO

As the Netherlands savour their maiden UEFA Women's EURO title, UEFA.com examines how the hosts became only the fourth different nation to taste continental glory.

Twin captains Mandy van den Berg and Sherida Spitse lift the trophy
Twin captains Mandy van den Berg and Sherida Spitse lift the trophy ©Getty Images

The Netherlands are only the fourth different nation to clinch the UEFA Women's EURO title, beating Denmark 4-2 in Enschede to complete an impressive home triumph in which they won all six games. We take a closer look at how they did it.

The Netherlands enjoy their title triumph
The Netherlands enjoy their title triumph©Getty Images

NETHERLANDS: run to victory

Group stage
1-0 Norway, 1-0 Denmark, 2-1 Belgium (1st in Group A)

Quarter-finals
2-0 Sweden

Semi-finals
3-0 England

Final
4-2 Denmark

Previous best: Semi-finals 2009

Reaction:

Vivianne Miedema: 'We're so happy!'
Vivianne Miedema: 'We're so happy!'

Sarina Wiegman, coach
"It was a great final, with two teams that really wanted to play football, and really wanted to win. Both teams played attacking football and six goals in an exciting match is a great advert for the women's game. I thought we deserved it, but Denmark showed they deserved to be here too."

Sari van Veenendaal, Netherlands goalkeeper
"When you looked around, everyone was orange and everyone was screaming and supporting us. This is my second home here in Enschede; I played here for five years and it's unbelievable. I'm so happy!"

  • How did they do it?

A change at the top
After missing out behind Sweden when hosting Olympic qualifying in March 2016, the Netherlands' form looked worrying during their 16-month run of friendlies. A 1-0 home defeat by England in November brought a fifth in the last eight games, and the decision was made to replace coach Arjan van der Laan with assistant Sarina Wiegman, aided by the experienced Foppe de Haan.

Also working with Sparta Rotterdam's male youth team, Wiegman won eight of the Netherlands' 11 2017 friendlies, losing only narrowly to Australia, France and Japan, and restoring confidence ahead of the finals.

Start as you mean to go on
The Netherlands carved out a great chance in the early moments of their opener against Norway, and the wing play of Shanice van de Sanden and Lieke Martens ensured the Dutch women's record crowd of 21,732 in Utrecht delighted in a 1-0 win (earned by local girl Van de Sanden).

The Dutch defeated all their opponents
The Dutch defeated all their opponents©Getty Images

The 2013 runners-up were never able to recover, while the Netherlands went on to hard-fought victories against Denmark and Belgium (aided each time by Sherida Spitse penalties) to top Group A.

Heavyweight knockouts
Sweden were expected to be a step up in the quarter-finals, but the Dutch claimed a fully deserved 2-0 win courtesy of a Martens free-kick and a first goal of the tournament for Vivianne Miedema. "It's like we're playing with 12 players with all the fans supporting us," said Jackie Groenen. "It's amazing having them behind us."

They hosts were then backed by a semi-final record 27,093 crowd in Enschede as they met new tournament favourites England, who had seen off France in a quarter-final round that also brought a shock win for Denmark against Germany. This time it was not the blistering wing play of the Netherlands that was decisive but their midfield dominance, courtesy of Danielle van de Donk, Groenen and Spitse. Miedema and Van de Donk both scored, while their Arsenal colleague Jodie Taylor was kept out by a fourth Gunner, Sari van Veenendaal.

Final flourish
They turned on the attacking vim yet again in a breathless final as Miedema got two more goals to take her knockout tally to four. Meanwhile, Martens underlined her status as player of the tournament and Twente's Spitse, in her home stadium, converted a free-kick for a lead the hosts never lost.

Coach Sarina Wiegman with the trophy
Coach Sarina Wiegman with the trophy©AFP/Getty Images

Once again, the players absorbed the support of the crowd and converted it into vigour and a determination to win, earning them a deserved crown.

KEY ACHIEVEMENTS

  • First hosts to win the tournament since Germany in 2001
  • All six Netherlands games sold out for an aggregate attendance of 110,897, a record for a single nation at a UEFA Women's EURO
  • Only the fourth nation to win the title and the first new champions since (West) Germany in 1989
  • Only the second nation to have been both men's and women's European champions after Germany