EDMONTON, CANADA // A moment of brilliance from Lieke Martens gave the Netherlands’ their first women’s World Cup goal in a 1-0 win over New Zealand on the opening day of the 2015 tournament in Canada on Saturday.
Martens, who plays club football in Sweden, scored the 21st goal of her international career with a superb 33-minute strike from outside the area.
It left Erin Nayler, 22, with no chance in the New Zealand goal.
“It’s a dream come true,” said the 22-year-old Martens. “As a girl you dream of scoring a goal at the World Cup.”
New Zealand coach Tony Readings put the result down to “one piece of brilliance from a player we knew would be a problem”.
Danielle Van De Donk had the ball in the net after 15 minutes but the goal was ruled offside.
New Zealand’s Ria Percival then fired a free-kick which looked like it was on its way in before being flicked away by Loes Geurts in the Dutch goal.
And in the last action of the game Hannah Wilkinson had a chance to equalise but the experienced Geurts was again solid.
Readings said they have managed to close down rising Dutch star Vivianne Miedema, but had been bothered by Martens and Manon Melis.
“She (Miedema) wasn’t really involved in the game. We nullified her today but I have no doubt she can cause teams problems in the tournament.”
The Oceania champions now face a tough challenge to make it through to the knockout stages as they next play Canada, who beat China 1-0 earlier in Edmonton.
New Zealand have now lost all ten of their games in their three World Cup tournaments.
“We played well in the second half and we feel if we can do that again we can get some results,” said Readings.
“It is not just about playing well, it is about taking points from these games.
“We played okay in the first half but okay is not good enough in the World Cup.”
The Dutch, playing their first ever World Cup, next play China with their final group game against Canada.
The top two from each group advance to the last 16 along with the four best third-place teams.
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