England beat the Netherlands to keep their Olympic dreams alive in a nail biting 3-2 victory at Wembley in the Nations League on Friday, thanks to a stoppage time goal from Ella Toone.
Despite domination from England in the opening moments, the visitors went ahead in the 12th minute when Victoria Pelova found Lineth Beerensteyn, allowing her to slot the ball through the legs of Jess Carter and past captain Mary Earps.
Beerensteyn doubled the Netherlands lead in the 35th minute when the ball rolled into Earps’ net once more, following another defensive error from Carter. Chloe Kelly’s attempts to clear the ball failed, resulting in a second goal for the visitors.
“You win as a team and you lose as a team. Everyone makes mistakes, when something at the back happens it very quickly becomes a goal, that is part of the game. Of course she didn’t let the team down, you only let your team down when you don’t put effort in the game,” said England manager Sarina Wiegman about Earps’ performance after conceding two goals.
Georgia Stanway pulled one back for England in the 58th minute, after Lauren James’ expert cross found her on the edge of the box, allowing the unmarked Bayern Munich forward to head into the bottom corner.
Just two minutes later Lauren Hemp got England back in the game. Stanway was involved once more as her ball found Hemp on the edge of the box. Hemp played in with her left foot and struck the ball to fire home.
“We knew we needed to get goals and to get goals quickly and we managed to do that within ten to fifteen minutes, so that was crucial for us to get a foothold of the game and get the goals.
“Another one would have been handy but it’s all still to play for on Tuesday,” Hemp told The River.
Wembley erupted into a roar in the 91st minute as James’ fired a cross to pick out Toone inside the box. The forward slithered the ball through the legs of keeper Daphne Van Domeslaar to find the back of the net, making it 3-2 to England in stoppage time.
“We know that when we play our best and put 100% in, every single one of us, we’re capable of beating any team.
“We’ve played well across all the games in the Nations League, but we just haven’t quite got over the line, but today we have,” Barcelona’s Lucy Bronze said.
England now sit second in League A, level on nine points with The Netherlands. England need to beat Scotland on Tuesday, with the hopes that The Dutch drop points against Belgium to secure qualification to Paris 2024.