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Vivianne Miedema scored twice to
become Netherlands’ all-time leading goalscorer as the European champions beat
Cameroon 3-1 on Saturday to reach the last 16 at the women’s World Cup.
Cameroon, playing the Netherlands
for the first time in a competitive match, adopted a cautious approach at Stade
du Hainaut, with five players in the back line and four in front of them for
the majority of the game.
The tactics worked until a sweeping
Dutch move in which Shanice van de Sanden’s inch-perfect cross found Arsenal
forward Miedema, who powered home a thumping header in the 41st minute.
Cameroon responded almost
immediately as winger Gabrielle Aboudi Onguene timed her run perfectly to latch
on to a long ball before beating goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal for an easy
Netherlands, who beat New Zealand in
their opening match, were back on the front foot in the second half after a
cleverly worked free kick allowed center back Dominique Bloodworth to score her
first international goal from close range.
Cameroon substitute Henriette Akaba
came close to an equalizer in the closing stages before Miedema scored her
second goal to put the result beyond doubt.
It was Miedema’s 60th goal for the
Netherlands as she overtook former striker Manon Melis to become their all-time
“It is something special, something
I’m only going to live once and it’s a special experience for me,” the
22-year-old Miedema said.
“It’s a World Cup — you score a
goal, so I think you can cheer and be a little crazy about it.”
Netherlands top Group E after
winning back-to-back World Cup matches for the first time, before Canada’s
evening kick-off against New Zealand in Grenoble.
“I’m glad we won. In a couple of
stages we played better than the previous game but we struggled as well,”
Netherlands coach Sarina Wiegman said.
“We are now qualified for the next
round. But who is better as an opponent? Is it Japan, Sweden or England? I
think it’s dangerous doing maths. Let’s just play the Canada game first.”
Netherlands will meet Canada in
their final group-stage match in Reims on Thursday, while Cameroon face New
Zealand on the same day at Montpellier.