Dutch footballers aren’t the only ones having problems with New Zealand training grounds. Portugal national coach Francisco Neto told a press conference on Saturday that training could not take place in Auckland on Friday due to persistent rain. “So we had to completely change our schedule,” said Neto, who will meet Orange on Sunday at 9:30 a.m. (Dutch time) in the southern city of Dunedin.
Neto has not closely followed the cricket ground issues that Orange have faced in the coastal city of Tauranga. “In any case, it’s no excuse if it didn’t work out on Sunday,” said the Portuguese coach. He said such problems with the training grounds are inherent in such an important tournament.
Dutch national coach Andries Jonker expressed his frustration earlier this week. He called the ‘crackling hard drive’ in training at Tauranga ‘first-rate amateurism’. The Netherlands are the only New Zealand national team that trains on a cricket pitch, the other fifteen teams play on football or rugby pitches.
The Portuguese women’s team are taking part in a World Cup for the first time and that makes the game against the Netherlands “a very special moment”, according to Neto. The 42-year-old called Orange “really very strong” and “technically very well versed”. The Portuguese coach said he expected to come under “a lot of pressure” in the game against the Netherlands. “But we also hope very much to get the ball back and be able to dominate the game at times.”
Portugal played thirteen games to qualify for the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. No other country has needed so many duels. “We had a lot of pressure last year. It won’t be different in the game against the Netherlands,” said Neto, who earlier this year said Portugal had set their sights on reaching the last 16 in Australia at this World Cup. “We want to go into the last game of the group stage, against the United States, with the certainty that we will get to the next round.”
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