The Orange Lionesses have given a suitable follow-up to their good start of their World Cup qualifying campaign with a 5-0 away victory over Slovakia. The scoreline could have been much higher.
Right from kickoff, the reigning European champions made their intentions clear, creating two excellent chances in the opening minutes. The visitors were three times lucky in the eighth minute, when Stefanie van der Gragt headed in the first goal from a corner kick.
Playmaker Lieke Martens, in particular, wreaked havoc on the Slovakian defence, but the Netherlands initially lacked the luck and precision to increase their lead. Ultimately, it was Sherida Spitze, who crowned her excellent performance with a splendid goal from a free-kick towards the end of the first half: 2-0.
Two goals from topscorer Vivianne Miedema just before and after the break settled the Netherlands victory, raising her tally to 49 goals in 60 caps. This coming Tuesday, she can hit the 50 mark and join the all-time Netherlands top scorer’s position with Manon Melis.
Miedema, Jill Roord and Anouk Dekker got very close to a fifth goal in the second half, but it was Stefanie van der Gragt who hit the net in extra time with another header.
The 5-0 win over Slovakia was the Netherlands' 11th victory in succession, an unprecedented achievement in Dutch international women’s football. On Tuesday, the Lionesses can finish 2017 in style when they meet Ireland before a capacity crowd in Goffert Stadium in Nijmegen. Another win will put them three points ahead of their two main rivals in qualifying Group 3, Norway and Ireland.