Yes, you read that correctly.
- The Dutch were leading 1-6 at half time.
- Arsenal’s Miedema scored 4 goals.
- Zambia’s captain Banda was a rare bright spark netting an historic hattrick.
The Netherlands defeated Zambia today in their Olympic opener, leaving the home team in disarray after a 3-10 drubbing.
For both sides, it was their Olympic debuts and for the Dutch they couldn’t have wished for a better start to the group that contains Marta’s Brazil and a very capable Chinese team.
The World Cup Runners up took the initiative early on, as Arsenal star Vivianne Miedema pounced on an error by goalkeeper Hazel Nali to put the 4th ranked team in the world one up inside nine minutes. From this early start, the Dutch seemed to have their foot in the door. Back-to-back goals from Lieke Martens and Miedema again struck inside 15 minutes.
After this flurry of action, Zambia tried to muster a reaction. Skipper Barbara Banda took it upon herself to pull one back in the 19th minute. Minutes later, the Zambians could’ve doubled their Olympic joy as Grace Chanda struck the bar from outside the 18-yard box.
Seemingly, the Dutch weren’t fazed by the waves of pressure and just before 30 minutes, Miedema completed her hattrick from close range. The Oranje looked to be in cruise control and Zambia’s kick and run type of play looked highly reactive. It was a far cry from the Dutch comfort in possession. In the 38th minute Martens got her brace. Just before the half, Van de Sanden added to the dramatic scoreline.
1-6 at half time. It was hard reading for fans of the Copper Queens. A big half was very much needed. From the restart, Zambia held their own and it wouldn’t be until the 59th minute that the Dutch would reopen the figurative flood gates that had battered the African side in the first half. Miedema was there again to get her fourth of the game and establish already this early on – her name as a candidate as the tournament’s potential top scorer.
5 minutes later, Jill Roord emerged to make it 1-8. She was also the game’s 5th different goal scorer. Zambia felt changes should be in order and took to the bench to liven up their play as a double substitution saw Agnes Musesa and Ochumba Lubanji replace Anita Mulenga and Hellen Mubanga. However, it seemed to have little effect as the Dutch carried on two minutes later, Beerensteyn making it a total of 9 goals with 15 minutes left to play. On the 80-minute mark, Victoria Pelova added the 10th goal to the awfully one sided scoreline.
That said, the Zambian spirit would not be knocked and in the 82nd minute, captain Banda led by example once more before emphatically grabbing a historic hattrick in the 83rd minute. Regardless of the scoreline, Zambia can look back on this first game in the Olympics with great pride. It is a credit to Banda and the squad to put three past the team, that on paper looked to win comfortably. Now, attention turns to Saturday, where China awaits the Copper Queens and the Dutch will face Brazil.