After the disappointing European Championship last summer, the Netherlands do not go as favorites at the Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Add to that the great distance and the question arises whether the tournament will really come to life here.
However, national coach Andries Jonker has high hopes for a stadium full of Orange supporters. In addition, he is less and less concerned about low temperatures.
“During the World Cup draw, the ambassador to New Zealand told me there were 200,000 New Zealanders of Dutch descent. They often still have a strong connection to our country,” explains Jonker.
“The ambassador has planned to mobilize this Dutch enclave with the mayors of the host cities, so that we can play more or less a home game there, in a stadium full of Orange supporters”, explains the national coach in Along the line and its surroundings on NPO Radio 1.
“From the Netherlands we will try to contribute to this with social media.”
“To the great joy” of Jonker, the Orange set up their training camp on the North Island of New Zealand. “On the South Island, it is even ten degrees cooler. If we had been there, we could hardly have left the hotel.”
Southernmost stadium in the world
This means the Netherlands will have to make a two-hour flight to Dunedin, where two of the three group matches will be played. Forsyth Barr Stadium is known as the southernmost stadium in the world.
“We went to see it, it’s a beautiful stadium,” says Jonker. “But it was also right on the harbour. When the wind comes from the South Pole, it can be very cold in the New Zealand winter. To my delight, it turned out that there was a sliding roof on the stadium.”
Jonker hopes to bring the Orange back to the World Cup at the level reached under former national coach Sarina Wiegman. He noticed that players didn’t need to look back on the unsuccessful collaboration with Jonker’s predecessor, Mark Parsons.
As offensive as possible
“We want to play as attackingly as possible again. We want to show the football that people like to watch and that our players are also good. Then we can show that we have just a very good team.”
But favorite is definitely not Orange. “At last year’s European Championship, England, Germany, Spain and France were really better than the Netherlands,” says Jonker. “It’s very simple: they have more quality. At a World Cup you always have countries like the United States. Then you have five or six countries that are better than us.”
“But,” Jonker warns, “on a good day we can beat anyone. Every player now has to realize that and we have to start games with that attitude.”
As the World Cup approaches, Orange will complete a series of exhibition matches. In February, Jonker’s team will play twice against Austria in Malta. “In April we will train in the Netherlands against two truly top European countries,” Jonker announced. He has not yet been able to reveal the names of the opponents.
A farewell game against a European opponent is due to follow in June, after which the Netherlands want to train against another World Cup visitor in Australia.
The World Cup then starts on July 23 with a match against Portugal, Cameroon or Thailand, who are still playing the play-offs. This is followed by matches against the United States and Vietnam.