Oranje reach Nations League at England’s expense in late drama

Damaris Egurrola (centre) celebrates scoring the decisive fourth goal deep into injury time. Photo: ANP/Gerrit van Keulen

The Netherlands qualified for the final stages of the Nations League and took a step towards Olympic qualification on a night of surrealist drama in Tilburg and Glasgow.

The Leeuwinnen started the night top of Group A on goal difference, needing to win against Belgium and knowing England would overtake them if they beat Scotland by three goals more.

The Dutch took the lead late in the second half when Lineth Beerensteyn’s shot crept inside the left-hand post.

But three goals in eight minutes just before the break gave Sarina Wiegman’s England team a 4-0 lead and the upper hand in the group.

A fifth goal for England early in the second half meant the Dutch had to score twice, and though Beerensteyn tapped in her second a few minutes later, they went into injury time needing another goal to progress.

Damaris Egurrola’s close-range header put the Netherlands briefly back on top, before England scored a sixth three minutes into injury time. But two minutes later, with the final whistle gone in Glasgow, Egurrola squeezed in a fourth with her head to snatch the qualification spot.

Final four

“Sometimes football’s like that,” Egurrola said after the match. “This is why I play football, this is why I love this team. We worked for this for the last months. We really wanted to be in the final four.”

Wiegman said: “We can’t influence other matches. We feel distraught, but I can only say I’m proud of the team and our performance today.”

The Netherlands now go through to the final knockout stage where they will face France, Spain or Germany, with the draw taking place on Monday, December 11.

The two finalists will compete in year’s Olympic tournament in Paris, but if host nation France reach the final, the winners of the third-place playoff will also qualify.

An added complication was that the Scottish players knew before the match that their only chance of going to the Olympics was if England qualified. The four British nations compete together as Great Britain and Northern Ireland, but only England were able to qualify on their behalf.

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