JEROEN ADRIAANSE / AIPS in ROTTERDAM*: Netherlands need a draw against neighbours Belgium in Tilburg on Monday to secure a place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Denmark in the Sparta stadium in Group A.

Vice-captain Sherida Spitse scored the only goal on her 135th appearance for national team who thus repeated the minimal margin of success attained in the tournament opener against Norway last Sunday.

Victory perpetuated the party which began two hours before kick-off when hundreds of orange-bedecked fans marched to the stadium from Kruisplein near the Booijmans Van Beuningen art gallery. They ended the evening paying homage not to Vincent van Gogh but to Spitse & Co.

For much of the first half, Denmark played with their backs against the wall, repelling waves of Dutch pressure.

A lively start by Sarina Wiegman’s side was rewarded in the 19th minute when midfielder Spitse converted a penalty after Daniëlle van de Donk was tripped by Nanna Christiansen. The 28-year-old defender would not have been present but for a foot fracture suffered by Janni Arnth.

Denmark offered the occasional goal threat of their own through Pernille Harder and Nadia Nadim.

Harder had warned before the game that communication with colleagues would be difficut because of the noise in the stadium.

However it was not the Dutch fans but goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal who proved the problem with a fine save from the Danish captain after sloppy Dutch defending opened her path to goal.

After the interval, Denmark developed their attacking spirit but Sanne Troelsgaard wasted their clearest opportunity. Again Van Veenendaal’s reflexes proved decisive, the Dutch registered a second clean sheet and the goalkeeper duly took the Player of the Match award.

Netherlands now need only a draw against Belgium on Monday while Denmark must beat Norway if they want to rescue a last-eight berth.

** AIPS is the international sports journalists’ association with 10,000 members worldwide and which is currently running a Young Reporters project in the Netherlands with the cooperation and support of European federation UEFA. More information at