Hosts Netherlands got their Women’s Euro 2017 campaign off to a successful start with a deserved win over Norway.
Liverpool’s Shanice van de Sanden scored the only goal, heading in Lieke Martens’ pin-point cross from close range after 66 minutes.
Netherlands could have opened the scoring in the opening 30 seconds, but Ingrid Hjelmseth kept out a shot from Arsenal’s Danielle van de Donk.
In the second game in Group A, Denmark defeated Belgium 1-0.
Sanne Troelsgaard headed in the only goal in Doetinchem after Pernille Harder’s free-kick was tipped on to the crossbar.
The closest Belgium came to finding the net was through Janice Cayman’s flicked effort, but Danish goalkeeper Stina Lykke Petersen did well to push the ball to safety.
Norway come up against Belgium on Thursday in their next group game (17:00 BST kick-off), while Netherlands face Denmark on the same day (19:45 BST kick-off).
Women’s Footballer of the Year kept quiet
The 2013 finalists Norway were second best throughout against a Dutch side helped by a boisterous home following in Utrecht. The crowd of 21,732 at the Stade Galgenwaard was a record for a women’s football match in the Netherlands.
Sarina Wiegman’s side had plenty of chances, the best of which fell to new Barcelona signing Martens, who forced Hjelmseth into a fine save, while Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema dragged an effort wide.
Chelsea midfielder Maren Mjelde came close with a free-kick for Norway’s, their best effort in the encounter.
Striker Ada Hegerberg, the current BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year, barely got a kick during the match and was largely kept quiet by the Dutch defence.
The most presentable chance fell to her with a minute remaining, but her deflected strike was easy for Arsenal goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal.
‘The King came to see us’
Netherlands forward Shanice van de Sanden said: “A dream came true today. I played in my home city, I was born two minutes from the stadium and my whole family was in the stands.
“This is the first game so we can enjoy it but we have to calm down and focus on the next game.
“My whole team played really well and it was nice to score the goal in this stadium. We win together but I like to steal the show. With all the people in the stands, everyone in orange, it was amazing.
“The King of Netherlands came to see us in the locker room after and said a few words. That was pretty cool.”
Former England and Everton defender Lindsay Johnson:
It is so important for you to get the three points in the first game, but the performance from the Netherlands was fantastic too.
They have shown the rest of the group they are not here just because they are the hosts, they can play too.
With the crowd behind them, it is going to be tough to break them down.
The whole built-up to the goal was fantastic. Lieke Martens looked up and found Shanice van de Sanden, who finished off the cross with a header into the bottom corner.
BBC Sport’s Alistair Magowan in Utrecht:
Norway might have a greater pedigree but they were outplayed by a more vigorous and effervescent Netherlands side, who gave the tournament a perfect lift-off in front a record crowd.
The margin of victory appeared slim, and the Dutch should have been out of sight based on the number of chances they created and missed with Arsenal forward Vivianne Miedema most culpable.
But in Lieke Martens and goalscorer Shanice van de Sanden, they have two potential stars of the tournament. On either flank, they simply destroyed the Norwegian defence.
When Van de Sanden broke down in tears at the final whistle, the pressure of performing in an opening game as a host nation was clear to see. They might not be hot favourites but with a buoyant crowd behind them, they can certainly challenge.
- 1van Veenendaal
- 2van Lunteren
- 4van den BergSubstituted forvan der Gragtat 80′minutes
- 5van Es
- 14GroenenBooked at 90mins
- 7van de SandenSubstituted forBeerensteynat 76′minutes
- 10van de DonkSubstituted forRoordat 90+1′minutes
- 3van der Gragt
- 19van den Bulk
- 22van der Most
- 11Holstad Berge
- 7SchjelderupSubstituted forReitenat 75′minutes
- 18MaanumSubstituted forIsaksenat 58′minutes
- 17MindeSubstituted forHaaviat 66′minutes
- 14HegerbergBooked at 9mins
- 10Graham Hansen
- 13Pettersen Reinas
- 15Karlseng Utland
- 23Hove Bogstad
- Stéphanie Frappart
- Shots on Target
Match ends, Netherlands Women 1, Norway 0.
Second Half ends, Netherlands Women 1, Norway 0.
Kika van Es (Netherlands Women) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Caroline Graham Hansen (Norway).
Substitution, Netherlands Women. Jill Roord replaces Daniëlle van de Donk.
Jackie Groenen (Netherlands Women) is shown the yellow card.
Foul by Daniëlle van de Donk (Netherlands Women).
Emilie Haavi (Norway) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Desiree van Lunteren (Netherlands Women) left footed shot from the right side of the box misses to the left.
Foul by Jackie Groenen (Netherlands Women).
Guro Reiten (Norway) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Attempt blocked. Lieke Martens (Netherlands Women) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Substitution, Netherlands Women. Stefanie van der Gragt replaces Mandy van den Berg.
Attempt missed. Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands Women) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Sherida Spitse.
Substitution, Netherlands Women. Lineth Beerensteyn replaces Shanice van de Sanden.
Substitution, Norway. Guro Reiten replaces Ingrid Schjelderup.
Corner, Netherlands Women. Conceded by Ingrid Hjelmseth.
Attempt saved. Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands Women) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner.
Foul by Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands Women).
Maren Mjelde (Norway) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Corner, Norway. Conceded by Kika van Es.
Goal! Netherlands Women 1, Norway 0. Shanice van de Sanden (Netherlands Women) header from the centre of the box to the centre of the goal. Assisted by Lieke Martens with a cross.
Substitution, Norway. Emilie Haavi replaces Kristine Minde.
Offside, Norway. Kristine Minde tries a through ball, but Caroline Graham Hansen is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Lieke Martens (Netherlands Women) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Sherida Spitse.
Attempt missed. Daniëlle van de Donk (Netherlands Women) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Jackie Groenen.
Foul by Kika van Es (Netherlands Women).
Ada Hegerberg (Norway) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Daniëlle van de Donk (Netherlands Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Maria Thorisdottir (Norway).
Lieke Martens (Netherlands Women) wins a free kick in the attacking half.
Foul by Ingrid Schjelderup (Norway).
Attempt missed. Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands Women) right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high. Assisted by Shanice van de Sanden with a cross following a corner.
Corner, Netherlands Women. Conceded by Elise Thorsnes.
Substitution, Norway. Ingvild Isaksen replaces Frida Maanum.
Attempt saved. Daniëlle van de Donk (Netherlands Women) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Desiree van Lunteren.
Attempt missed. Vivianne Miedema (Netherlands Women) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Lieke Martens with a through ball.
Lieke Martens (Netherlands Women) wins a free kick on the left wing.
Foul by Ingrid Moe Wold (Norway).
Attempt blocked. Kristine Minde (Norway) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.