UTRECHT, July 16, 2017 - There were smiles and hugs all round as hosts Netherlands launched UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 with a remarkable demonstration of their team spirit.
After Shanice Van de Sanden’s header provided a 1-0 Group A victory over Norway in front of 21,732 fans manager Sarina Wiegman hailed her players' unity.
She said: "It was really good to see us stand on the pitch as one team. We play together, we fight and we play good football. That’s really important as well."
Despite her smile Wiegman was keen to avoid complacency ahead of their next test against Denmark.
She said: “We started really well and were well-organised . . . It was our first match so it was important to win but now we go ahead to Denmark and we will work hard in training for that.”
Norway’s Martin Sjögren blamed a lack of edge up front for his team's failure.
He said: "We had some problems in our attacking which was the main problem and then we ended up very unorganised in defence.
“We couldn’t really keep hold of the ball and gain possession in the offensive half but still we created some chances even if Holland created many more.”
Sjögren praised the Dutch side and the hosts' prospects in 'their' tournament.
He said: “They showed they’re a good attacking team and that’s what they are best at. They had a lot of possession, made many chances and restricted us.
“We said before the game that we could create chances on the counter attack which we did, but today we played a better team and Holland showed they are a top nation.
“If the Netherlands play like they did today they have a good chance of going very far.”
Follow Mark Donnelly on Twitter @markdonnelly_