England came back from a goal down to defeat The Netherlands 5-1 in an international friendly at Elland Road in Leeds this evening.
Lieke Martens headed the Dutch ahead but a brace from Beth Mead, along with goals from Lucy Bronze, Ella Toone and Lauren Hemp helped the Lionesses to turn the game completely on its head.
There were very few chances in a hard-fought opening in West Yorkshire. Hemp charged down a Sari Van Veenendaal clearance without profiting while the lively Lineth Beerensteyn forced a block from England keeper Mary Earps at the other end.
The Netherlands then took the lead when a corner from the right was expertly headed home by Martens. It could have soon got worse for Sarina Wiegman’s England side had Rachel Daly’s last-ditch tackle not prevented Beerensteyn from shooting.
England levelled matters before the interval through Bronze. The full-back attempted to deliver a cross to the back post but the ball instead looped over Van Veenendaal and into the net.
The Netherlands were awarded a penalty kick early in the second half when Alex Greenwood fouled Danielle van de Donk in the area. Sherida Spitse took the spot kick on her 200th senior international appearance but she could only fire her effort against the post.
The Dutch were made to rue that miss less than a minute later when Hemp crossed for half-time substitute Mead who made no mistake in finding the back of the net from six yards. The pair almost combined again later in the game but a fortunate deflection took the ball back to Van Veenendaal.
England’s attacking play continued and they soon grabbed their third goal. Substitute Ella Toone took aim from the edge of the box and the ball went straight through Van Veenendaal, the Dutch keeper really should have done an awful lot better.
The Lionesses then arguably netted the goal of the night. After Toone’s initial effort had struck the post, the ball was only cleared as far as Hemp who found the far corner with a stunning volley.
The rout was completed with a clinical finish from the excellent Mead, the Arsenal forward striking from close range after the visitors had struggled to clear the ball.
It could have been even better for the Lionesses but Alessia Russo thumped a shot against the crossbar deep in second half injury time as the game ended 5-1.
England will now look ahead to a trip to Zürich next Thursday where they will take on Switzerland in their final international friendly before the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022.