Netherlands win shows four years of progress

Photo : www.fifa.com
www.fifa.com|27-Jun-2019 10:47

-Netherlands reach Women's World Cup quarter-final for first time
-Kirsten van de Ven says every team should fear the Netherlands
-Lieke Martens scores her first goals of the tournament

By Emma Coolen with Netherlands

The Netherlands showed just how far they’ve come after they avenged their round of 16 loss to Japan in 2015 with a hard-earned 2-1 victory over the Nadeshiko on Tuesday night.

But it wasn’t just the scoreline which displayed the progress the current European champions have made. The goal scorer in that 2015 loss, Kirsten van de Ven, hinted that these were the kinds of games that the Netherlands used to lose.

“Japan were the better team today,” said van de Ven, who is now Head of Women’s Football for the KNVB.

“The fact that the Netherlands can now win games like this – where your opponent have the better chances – speaks volumes for how far this team has come over the past four years.”

The Oranjeleeuwinnen survived a second half onslaught from Japan, in part due to the heroics of Dutch goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, who kept her team alive with some spectacular saves, before claiming a famous victory with a 90th-minute penalty.

“If you can beat a team as strong as Japan who were finalists just four years ago, then every team should be afraid of you. The Dutch have what it takes to go all the way.”

What makes the Netherlands an even scarier prospect for upcoming opponents is that Lieke Martens has suddenly played herself into form. Having spent France 2019 scoreless up until now, The Best FIFA Women’s Player 2017 opened the scoring with a flicked backheel and slotted home that last-minute penalty.

The win sees the Netherlands reach their first ever FIFA Women's World Cup™ quarter-final where they will face Italy in Valenciennes: the city closest to the Dutch border. Expect to see an army of thousands dressed in orange giving the Netherlands the extra support they value so highly.