For the Dutch football players, the World Cup in Australia and New Zealand is over. National coach Andries Jonker’s team lost 2-1 to Spain in the quarter-finals after extra time. Four years ago at the World Cup in France, the Oranje Lionesses reached the final, in which the American women proved too strong.
The elimination hurts Oranje captain Sherida Spitse. “We gave everything and fought for what we could against a good Spain,” Spitse said in a first reaction to NOS. “But it stops now.”
Oranje’s record international acknowledged that Spain was much stronger, especially before the break. “In the first half, they had bigger chances than we did,” said Spitse. Oranje could not even create a single opportunity in the first 45 minutes. “When I look at the second half, we were really no less than Spain. We had really good chances.”
Oranje’s greatest chances came in extra time, but Lineth Beerensteyn couldn’t make the goal. “In the end, that goal fell on the other side. That hurts,” said Spitse. “I don’t know if it is right that Spain is through. It is just very sour. But I look back with pride on what we have shown this entire tournament. We are back at the top. We weren’t there, but we are now. We can continue like this.”
“Very bummed,” Beerensteyn told NOS about the missed goal. “It just sour that those chances didn’t go in. Of course, I didn’t miss on purpose.” Oranje didn’t have anything against Spain for a long time. “But you know that things can go strange in football. A team can have the ball 70 percent of the time, but they don’t pay attention for one moment, and the ball is in on the other side,” Beerensteyn said. “We had the strength and power to last 120 minutes and make it very difficult for Spain. It is very sour that the ball just did not go in.”
Coach Andries Jonker has mixed feelings after the elimination. “On the one hand, I am very disappointed that we did not reach the semi-finals. We could have. On the other hand, I am incredibly proud,” Jonker said. “We’ve had fantastic weeks with great staff and a great team.”
Jonker, who succeeded Mark Parsons as national coach after last year’s disappointing European Championship in England, believes Oranje has re-joined the world top. “If you play 0-1 against Germany, 1-1 against America, and 1-1 in regular time against Spain, then you’re there again. Then you’re top again. But actually, we secretly want to be the best. And then we should have won here,” said Jonker.
“Spain put us under constant pressure. If you then build up in your own half, you are asking for problems. To be fair: Spain is a bit better than us. We fought for what we were worth. Especially in extra time, we got two huge opportunities on perhaps the winning goal,” said Jonker.
The third World Cup of the Lionesses ended on Friday in Wellington, in a match in which they barely played against dominant Spain for a long time. It was only after the Spanish women had taken the lead 10 minutes before the end from a penalty kick that Oranje shrugged off their hesitation. Stefanie van der Gragt, who had caused the penalty with a handball, scored the equalizer in injury time and thus forced extra time. Lineth Beerensteyn left two great opportunities unused, after which Salma Paralluelo scored on the other side.
The over 32,000 spectators in the Sky Stadium saw a compelling football fight, in which Spain dominated for a long time. The number 6 in the world ranking certainly created one chance after another before the break. Jonker’s team was tagged away at times by Spain, which combined effortlessly and maintained a high pace. Oranje lost the ball very often, very quickly.
The Dutch footballers missed their booster in the suspended Daniëlle van de Donk. Jonker chose Damaris Egurrola to replace Van de Donk. The Lionesses were unable to create a single opportunity in 90 minutes. After an hour of play, they received a penalty out of nowhere after Beerensteyn had been pushed in the sixteen-meter area. However, after reviewing the TV footage, French referee Stéphanie Frappart reversed her decision.
Ten minutes before the end, the ball on the other side actually hit the spot after hands from Van der Gragt. The experienced defender reached out on the edge of the penalty area and blocked a Spanish cross. Mariona Caldentey scored from 11 meters (1-0). Jonker then replaced Sherida Spitse and Esmee Brugts and placed the stronger Van der Gragt in the front. Van der Gragt scored the equalizer in injury time and thus forced extra time. It still went wrong for Oranje there.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times