Fenna Kalma scored thirty goals in twenty matches last season and yet the top scorer in the Eredivisie will not go to the World Cup. Older Shanice van de Sanden also narrowly dropped out. She is not part of national coach Andries Jonker’s final selection for the tournament in Australia and New Zealand.
The 30-year-old Liverpool striker still travels to New Zealand, where the Netherlands play the group matches. Kalma remains behind in the Netherlands and it is surprising, because with her statistics and her profile, she seemed assured of a place in the selection.
About the Author
Dirk Jacob Nieuwboer is a sports journalist for by Volkskrant and writes about football and handball. He was previously a correspondent for Turkey and a political journalist.
The Netherlands are missing all-time top scorer Vivianne Miedema at the World Cup, who was eliminated with a serious knee injury. Kalma had the chance to show up in February but the Netherlands sadly lost to Austria in Malta and the Twente striker didn’t score. A few days later, Lineth Beerensteyn scored two goals against the same opponent.
Since then, the Juventus striker has been favored by Jonker but Kalma seemed like a useful addition. Of all the candidates, she is the most real centre-forward, a goal stealer, who, with her size and heading power, could also serve as a crowbar in emergency situations.
The Frisian will play for Europe’s top club Wolfsburg after the summer but has so far only proven himself in the Premier League, which is not among the strongest internationally. Yet eight of the 23 players in the final selection were active in their own country last season, four years ago there were two less. Jonker selected Wieke Kaptein, who has been in the Twente base for two years, despite his young age of 17.
Her teammate Kalma also missed the European Championship last year. At that time, she had just scored 33 Premier League goals, but national coach Mark Parsons still had access to Miedema at the time and also took Romée Leuchter with him. Jonker decided to leave the Ajax striker at home early so he only has four pure forwards in his final selection.
Besides Beerensteyn, these are Lieke Martens (Paris Saint-Germain), Renate Jansen (Twente) and Katja Snoeijs (Everton). The latter was often a reserve behind Miedema, but when she played for the national team she often scored. Jonker was also impressed with her play at Everton, an under-topper in England.
Jonker is also taking Victoria Pelova (Arsenal) and Esmee Brugts (PSV) with him. In their clubs they play an attacking role, but the national coach recently used them in the Dutch team mainly as “wingbacks”, which must cover the entire flank.
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