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Netherlands, Sweden share spoils in Euros group opener

SHEFFIELD, England — Netherlands midfielder Jill Roord canceled out Jonna Andersson’s opener for Sweden as the defending champions salvaged a 1-1 draw in their heavyweight Group C clash at the women’s European Championship on Saturday.

Both teams started cautiously and a dull first half at Bramall Lane sprung to life when Sweden took a deserved lead in the 36th minute through Andersson who smashed home from close range following some excellent wing play from Kosovare Asllani.

Lina Hurtig almost got a second with a diving header minutes later before Danielle van de Donk blazed over for the Dutch, capping a miserable half in which they took off goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal and defender Aniek Nouwen due to injury.

Netherlands manager Mark Parsons told reporters that both players had been taken to hospital, but he was not sure of the extent of the injuries.

“We remained calm. How often do you lose your captain and central defender in the first half?” he said.

“We are concerned about their situation, but their replacements (keeper Daphne van Domselaar and Marisa Olislagers) did very well. I’m proud of how we fought back. In the end, it’s a shame we didn’t win.”

Netherlands, watched by their men’s team’s head coach Louis van Gaal, flew out of the traps after the break and hit back through Roord in the 52nd minute after she was brilliantly set up by Arsenal forward Vivianne Miedema.

Miedema grew into the game as the half wore on, driving at the Swedish defense with real menace, and nearly played in Roord for the winner but the Wolfsburg player was denied by a superbly timed tackle from Magdalena Eriksson.

“We kept it compact, and from there on, we started playing football,” said Miedema.

“Sweden is a great team. We were kind of surprised that they came out with five at the back, but we picked that up well in the end. I think they will go very far, and I hope we can do the same.”

Portugal and Switzerland, the other teams in the group, played out a 2-2 draw earlier on Saturday. — Reuters

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