LONDON — England women’s team clawed their way back from two goals down to beat the Netherlands 3-2 in a nerve-jangling UEFA Nations League group game at Wembley and keep their dreams of a Paris Olympic berth alive.
The Lionesses were in danger of a third defeat in Group A1 after Lineth Beerensteyn notched a first-half brace for the Dutch at Wembley.
That would have ended Team GB’s hopes of featuring in next year’s Olympics in Paris.
The group will now be decided on Tuesday, with England facing Scotland, who are fourth on two points, and the Netherlands playing Belgium (third on eight points). The two Nations League finalists earn Olympic berths.
But Sarina Wiegman’s side battled back with two goals in quick succession from Georgia Stanway and Lauren Hemp just before the hour mark.
England substitute Ella Toone completed the sensational escape act in the first minute of stoppage time to the delight of the 71,632 crowd.
“I feel a little bit strange. I am really happy with the win but in the end you hope you win by two goals so you are in a better position,” Wiegman said according to AFP.
“We said at half-time that we were not playing badly, but yes we had conceded two goals and we had to do better.
“Coming back from 2-0 down and how we showed up in the second half was so well done. It was a good performance. Overall it was a really good game.”
With second-placed England and group leaders the Netherlands both beating each other by one goal, the pair are separated by goal difference instead of their head-to head record.
“We are dependent on the other game but if we want to progress we need a really good win by four goals I would say. We can control by playing well and winning that game. That is what we need to do first,” Wiegman said.
Team GB can qualify for the Olympics if nominated nation England make it to the Nations League finals and advance to the final.
Great Britain would also seal an Olympic berth if England finish third in the Nations League finals, provided France make the final.
Belgium drew 1-1 with Scotland in other Group A1 contest.
England goalkeeper Mary Earps dived and got her glove to the ball, only to see it slip past her and trickle in – something that left her beating the turf in frustration.
England’s attempts to hit back before the interval saw Kelly drill wide, a James shot gathered by Van Domselaar and Bronze miss with a header.
Wiegman reacted at the break by taking off Kelly and introducing Beth Mead for her England return, just over a year after suffering an ACL injury, before the push continued with James looping a shot into the stand.
England was then swiftly back on level terms thanks to a quickfire double as Stanway headed home from a James delivery in the 58th minute, then teed up Hemp’s strike from the edge of the box two minutes later.
As Wiegman’s team hunted a winner, Mead headed wide and Toone – brought on in the 68th minute – saw a shot deflect off Caitlin Dijkstra, before Earps denied Lieke Martens.
The Netherlands almost had a second in the 24th minute when Jill Roord lofted an effort that came back off the bar.
After James and Dutch skipper Sherida Spitse hit attempts too high, the visitors then did double their lead as Carter failed to intercept a bouncing ball and Beerensteyn seized upon it and hit a low shot.