Netherlands looking to get title defence off to flying start against Sweden

Defending champions the Netherlands open their Euro 2022 campaign against Sweden on Saturday.

The Swedes are aiming to avoid another damaging defeat after previous losses to the Dutch in major tournaments.

Here, the PA news agency looks ahead to Saturday’s action.

Reigning champions looking to hit ground running

Netherlands’ head coach Mark Parsons leads the defending champion. (Nick Potts/PA)

(PA Wire)

Defending champions the Netherlands face Sweden in Group C looking to banish the memories of a 5-1 thumping against England in their tournament build-up.

Boss Mark Parsons, who has previously managed Chelsea reserves, said: “We won’t start the tournament as the best, and I think we’ve accepted that, but we really believe in our qualities and that every minute and every game we get together will only make us stronger.”

Sweden aim for payback

Sweden are out to gain revenge for their Euro 2017 defeat to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals. They also lost to the same opponents in the World Cup semi-final three years ago.

Boss Peter Gerhardsson said: “It’s always good to start well because if you win this kind of game you show a high level from the start. Then hopefully it’s a long tournament and you can grow into it.”

Pitch problems

On Friday, Switzerland boss Nils Nielsen criticised the pitch at their original training base, Rothwell Juniors, after his team were forced to train in Huddersfield ahead of their Group C game against Portugal on Saturday. He said: “It wasn’t up to standard.”

Picture of the day

Germany’s Lina Magull celebrates opening the scoring against Denmark on Friday (Nick Potts/PA)

(PA Wire)

Quote of the day

I’m never p****d off but it was as close as it could be for me because I saw the pitch the day before we had to train.

Switzerland coach Nils Nielsen on his side’s pitch problems

Stat of the day

Up next

July 10Group D: Belgium v Iceland (5pm, Manchester City Academy Stadium)Group D: France v Italy (8pm, New York Stadium)


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