Runners-up in 2019, Netherlands will be hoping to go one better in the latest edition of the Women’s World Cup starting in July. Head Coach Andries Jonker will be hoping to make things happen for the Dutch in his second spell in charge after they had a torrid time in the European Championship. They parted ways with Mark Parsons who went to become manager of NWSL side Washington Spirit. The Netherlands could call themselves dark horses rather than among the favorites for the tournament with their levels dropping in the post-Sarina Weigman era of success.
After reaching the last 16 stages in their debut World Cup campaign in 2015, the Oranje shirt exceeded all expectations by reaching the final four years ago. Although they lost it by 2-0 to record champions USA, their incredible efforts earned praise worldwide. The Netherlands entered the competition being European champions anyway with their Euro triumph in 2017. While the team finished third in the group stages of their first World Cup, the top-place finish by winning every group game in the next one showed the development of women’s football in the country. Then under the present England boss. Netherlands battled Japan in the last 16 once again but this time they took revenge. Weigman’s women showed tenacity in defeating Italy and Sweden next by not conceding a goal to reach the final of the competition. Lieke Martens and Vivianne Miedema are both top scorers for the Dutch in this contest with three goals each, the latter scoring all of them in 2019.
Qualification to FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023
The qualifiers were not a smooth ride with the Netherlands just edging 15th-ranked Iceland by three points for the automatic qualification berth. Stoppage time winner from Esmee Brugts against the runners-up of the group in the final match ultimately sealed their faith. They did not lose any game in the eight games available but drew twice against the third-place Czech Republic to make it tight at the end. Miedema with the highest eight goals and Jill Roord in second with seven scored the majority of the 31 times the team found the net.
Preparation for FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023
The Netherlands played five friendlies in preparation for the Women’s World Cup 2023. Double-header against Austria, one win and one loss, before a loss to Germany and a victory against Poland all in April. The final preparatory friendly was played in the Women’s World Cup month which was a huge 5-0 victory over Belgium.
Netherlands squad for FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023
Goalkeepers: Daphne van Domselaar (Aston Villa), Lize Kop (Ajax), Jacintha Weimar (Feyenoord).
Defenders: Kerstin Casparij (Manchester City), Caitlin Dijkstra (FC Twente), Merel van Dongen (Atletico Madrid), Stefanie van der Gragt (Inter Milan), Dominique Janssen (Wolfsburg), Aniek Nouwen (AC Milan), Lynn Wilms (Wolfsburg).
Midfielders: Jill Baijings (Bayer Leverkusen), Danielle van de Donk (Lyon), Damaris Egurrola (Lyon), Jackie Groenen (PSG), Wieke Kaptein (FC Twente), Victoria Pelova (Arsenal), Jill Roord (Manchester City), Sherida Spitse (Ajax).
Forwards: Lineth Beerensteyn (Juventus), Esmee Brugts (PSV), Renate Jansen (FC Twente), Lieke Martens (PSG), Katja Snoeijs (Everton).
Head Coach: Andries Jonker
Netherland’s record goal scorer Vivianne Midema was not included in the final list after she herself declared having no hopes of recovering from an ACL injury suffered last year. Goalkeeper Barbara Lorsheyd, forward Fenna Kalma, Shanice van de Sanden, Alieke Tuin and more surprisingly Romee Leuchter are not selected for the Women’s World Cup squad. The 22-year-old scored 18 goals in the Eredivisie Vrouwen last season and made the provisional team. Midfielder Wieke Kaptein of FC Twente became the youngest-ever women’s player called up for the Netherlands at this stage aged only 17. A total of 11 players will make their World Cup debut at Australia and New Zealand.
The attacking force of the team will be its greatest strength. Even without Midema, the likes of Lineth Beerensteyn, Jill Roord and Lieke Martens will come up with crucial strikes in the tournament. There is plenty of star name in the middle of the park including Danielle van de Donk, Jackie Groenen or Sherida Spitse who will provide the energy and intensity for the team. Also coming up with goals whenever necessary. The defence also looks solid with two leaders in Stefanie van der Gragt and Dominique Janssen. The most important part will be their experience of playing in major tournaments with some involved in the run-up to the final of the 2019 Women’s World Cup.
Netherlands’ inefficiency to beat stronger opposition on the pitch will put them on the back foot for the tournament. Not since the last World Cup, the side have ever managed to win against nations close or higher ranked than them. The trend has continued in the present management as well. Midema’s absence will still be felt as there will be no focal point for the side or an experienced player in the number nine position. The Arsenal striker has often been the difference maker and Jonker’s side will find it hard to replace her.
Key Player: Jill Roord
Recently signed for Manchester City from Wolfsburg for a British record fee, Jill Roord will be a vital player for the Netherlands if they are to make another significant impact in the Women’s World Cup. Tasked with being the prime creator of the team, Roord’s talent and skill in combination with the front two will be crucial to finish off attacking moves for her side. She was a key component of Wolfsburg’s run to the Women’s Champions League final in a season the club almost completed a treble. The 26-year-old could take the shoes of Midema and be the player to take the team forward.
How will the Netherlands lineup at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023?
Andries Jonker has played a series of formations in his time in charge with the 3-1-4-2 mostly used against tough oppositions. So it is expected to be implemented against the USA in the group stages and in the knockouts, should the Dutch qualify, otherwise 4-3-3 is the standard for the side. Three at the back could see the team’s record appearance maker Spitse moving back into the defence with Egurrola playing the anchoring role. Victoria Pelova is likely to operate from the right with Beerensteyn and Martens making the front duo.
Netherlands FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 Group & Fixtures
Sunday, 23 July 2023
Netherlands vs Portugal - Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin (13:00)
Thursday, 27 July 2023
USA vs Netherlands - Wellington Regional Stadium, Wellington (06:30)
Tuesday, 1 August 2023
Vietnam vs Netherlands - Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin (13:00)
Interestingly, the Netherlands are placed in a group with two of its familiar foe. They will play the first group game on 23rd July 2023 against Portugal, they played a 3-2 thriller in the European Championship last summer. However, everyone’s attention will be on their second game against the USA which is a repeat of the 2019 World Cup final. The final group stage match is against newcomers Vietnam on the first day of the next month.
It should not be a problem for Netherlands to escape their group but coming first will be difficult with the holders tipped for the task. The team can move further into the knockouts if they keep themselves steady in this period. Qualifying for the semi-finals could be possible but is unlikely the Dutch will earn more from there. A consecutive final appearance or even a competition-winning charm does not look viable with more efficient contenders around.
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