After Canada and Cameroon kick off group E on Monday evening, it is soon time for the second game of the difficult group. The Orange Lionesses will finally be involved. The game can be followed live for the Dutch via NPO 1. The Netherlands is among the contenders for group victory, but will first have to achieve results against New Zealand.
New Zealand was a daring opponent for the Netherlands in 2015. Yet they never managed to reach the quarter-finals of a World Cup. They do have more experience at the World Cups than her opponent has, because the upcoming tournament will be the fifth world championship for the New Zealanders. They just didn’t know how to win a match at the World Cup and with that the team is the only one who has played at least twelve games and did not end a game with a win. A draw three times and lost nine times are worrying statistics for Football Ferns.
As an Oceanian country you can qualify through OFC Women’s Nations Cup. Here the best goes to the World Cup, but it is not a special achievement of the national team. They meet opponents such as Fiji, New Caledonia, Tonga and Papua New Guinea. All the countries offered no opposition and the results varied from 6-0 to 11-0. That is why it was better for New Zealand to warm up against equivalent European teams. This went reasonably well, but Australia, South Korea, USA. and Wales lost. Yet there were also some peaks against, for example, England, Mexico, Norway and Argentina. As a result, New Zealand shows that it can compete, because the latter countries won.
New Zealand is a team that needs physical and strength. The team is often compared to Australia. It is a team that will play cautiously and it will therefore often be the Netherlands that have the ball on Tuesday afternoon. Football Ferns will lurk on the counter and has an experienced team, with most players older than the Orange Lionesses. Defensively, there is a lot of individual class among the New Zealanders. Captain Ali Riley and back Ria Percival are reliable players, which often results in few goals against the team.
Sarina Wiegman has prepared her team for the start of the group phase. Cameroon and the perilous Canada are still waiting, but first of all New Zealand will have to be defeated. For the Netherlands it is a well-known group, because last year’s World Championship in 2015, the Orange Lionesses also hit Canada and New Zealand. The Netherlands had a hard time and finished third in the group. Canada was not won, but a meager 0-1 win was made against the upcoming opponent. In the end, the Dutch national team flew out against Japan in the first knockout round. This was the debut at a World Cup of the Dutch ladies.
Yet there are doubts about how good the Dutch team is at the moment. They themselves do not play a role as favorites and with seventh place on the world ranking this is not necessary either. It only remains remarkable for a team that only won the European Championship in their own country two years ago. It was a fantastic tournament, in which the Netherlands won every game.
The Netherlands has a better team on paper than New Zealand and the quality difference is immense. Although women’s football is increasing in the Netherlands, only five players are active in their own country. The others all play in a top competition. Many of the Orange Lionesses play at Arsenal, FC Barcelona and Bayern Munich. As a result, they also play many top level matches. The greatest quality is in the front, with Lieke Martens, Vivianne Miedema and Shanice van der Zanden. The trusted vanguard is technically very gifted and frighteningly fast.
PREDICTION: Netherlands W to win @ 1,30