Netherlands overcame two first half injuries against Sweden to claw their way back into their Euro 2022 opener and secure a 1-1 draw in front of more than 20,000 people in Sheffield.
The Swedes dominated the first half and were well worth their half-time lead courtesy of Jonnna Andersson. But Jill Roord cancelled out that goal early in the second as the two sides, who are both among the favourites to go all the way in the tournament, shared the points.
After a cagey start, early momentum was halted when Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal collided in the penalty with two of her defenders – Stefanie van de Gragt needed lengthy treatment but continued. It was Van Veenendaal in the end who later needed to come off.
The Dutch seemed unsettled by the loss of their skipper and Kosovare Asllani was disappointed to fire just the wrong side of the post, before Fridolina Rolfo tried to test 22-year-old replacement ‘keeper Daphne van Domselaar from distance.
Asllani deserved all the credit for the breakthrough goal, nutmegging Aniek Nouwen on the right flank and sending a measured low pass for Andersson to coolly finish at the far post.
Netherlands did have opportunities before and after that strike but failed to properly test Hedvig Lindahl. Danielle van de Donk also skied a good chance on a swift Dutch counter.
When Nouwen was unable to carry on because of a suspected knee injury, Netherlands knew they needed half-time to allow them to properly regroup.
Regroup they did when Roord fired the equaliser in to the bottom corner. Vivianne Miedema, so quiet in the first half, took the game by the scruff of the neck, rolling the otherwise impressive Amanda Ilestedt on the flank and driving into the middle, where the ball fell to Roord.
As the momentum shifted in favour of the Dutch, Swedish coach Peter Gerhardsson looked to try and wrestle it back with three attacking changes, including the arrival of Stina Blackstenius.
Despite a nervous start when she came on, the stand-in Van Domselaar grew with the game and a flying late save to deny Rolfo ultimately secured a point for her team. There was also still time for a moment of madness when Lindahl’s clearance struck Miedema but it came to nothing.
In the end, this wasn’t the best that either team is capable of. But they both remain unbeaten and will now look ahead to more favourable Group C matches against Switzerland and Portugal.
Netherlands 1-1 Sweden player ratings
1. Netherlands (4-3-3)
GK: Sari van Veenendaal (c) - N/A - Forced to come off midway through the first half after collision with defenders.
RB: Lynn Wilms - 6/10 - Left too exposed in the first half and got precious little change out of Andersson up against her.
CB: Stefanie van der Gragt - 6/10 - Shook off the early knock.
CB: Aniek Nouwen - 5/10 - Injury ended her involvement after 40 minutes. Had struggled to to deal with Asllani before that.
LB: Dominique Janssen - 7/10 - Shifted to centre-back after Nouwen's injury and looked good and assured in that role.
CM: Jackie Groenen - 8/10 - Covered so much ground as to be expected. Often popped up with neat interplay and clever passes. Gritty when needed.
CM: Danielle van de Donk - 7/10 - Impressive to be able to start here when considering she has played hardly any football since November.
CM: Sherida Spitse - 6/10 - Had to sacrifice her own game to shield the back four once Sweden started to take more control.
RF: Jill Roord - 7/10 - Guilty of not offering enough defensive protection on that side of the pitch. Made up for it with her 20th international goal.
ST: Vivianne Miedema - 7/10 - Too quiet in the first half but was crucial to making the equaliser possible. Did step it up massively after the break.
LF: Lieke Martens - 6/10 - Often on the periphery but showed flashes of what she is capable of.
SUB: Daphne van Domselaar (22' for Van Veenendaal) - 7/10 - Thrown in at the deep end but grew in confidence after a shaky start.
SUB: Marisa Olislagers (42' for Nouwen) - 6/10
SUB: Lineth Beerensteyn (71' for Roord) - 6/10
SUB: Victoria Pelova (79' for Van de Donk) - 6/10
2. Sweden (3-4-3)
GK: Hedvig Lindahl - 6/10 - Stood little chance with the goal but otherwise did what was asked of her.
CB: Amanda Ilestedt - 6/10 - Too easily turned by Miedema for the Dutch equaliser. Had played pretty well otherwise.
CB: Nathalie Bjorn - 6/10 - Not very commanding in the air but solid on the ground and assured on the ball.
CB: Magdalena Eriksson - 7/10 - A perfectly timed last ditch tackle denied Roord a second Netherlands goal.
RWB: Hanna Glas - 7/10 - Her excellent positioning essentially freed up Asllani to drift and be more of dangerous creative force.
CM: Filippa Angeldahl - 6/10 - Good first half performance, but started to fade and was replaced with 20 minutes to go.
CM: Caroline Seger (c) - 6/10 - Hardly gave the ball away and continues to defy the ageing process at 37.
LWB: Jonna Andersson - 7/10 - Incredibly calm at the back post to put Sweden into a deserved lead. Got forward well.
RF: Kosovare Asllani - 7/10 - Made the opening goal possible with a jinking run in from the right. Faded as Netherlands grew after the interval.
ST: Lina Hurtig - 6/10 - Made herself a physical presence spearheading the Swedish line. Missed a good headed chance.
LF: Fridolina Rolfo - 7/10 - Looked good when running with the ball into space. Tried to always make things happen.
SUB: Stina Blackstenius (70' for Hurtig) - 6/10
SUB: Johanna Rytting Kaneryd (71' for Andersson) - 6/10
SUB: Hanna Bennison (71' for Angeldahl) - 6/10