Congrats to Dutch Lionesses!!

Well, because all of you were following the women so enthusiastically and asked me for a post on them, I will… :-). I had posts about De Ligt, Arjen Robben and others prepared but sure… the Dutch Lionesses did amazingly well and do deserve this.

There is a lot of negative stuff and overly critical stuff we can say about the women. Which would be unfair. It’s like comparing an Under 15 game of boys with a CL match between Man City and Barcelona. It simply is another type of game when boys play, or when women play it. And once you accept that, you can also accept the weak shots on goal and the clumsy mistakes some still make.

But, amongst all of that, winning silver is still a superb result and deserves our respect.

So, lets discuss them!

Coach Sarina Wiegman (49) is already being compared to coaches like Michels and Van Marwijk. Professional, composed, keen to learn and tough.

Now, every coach is as good as the material available and when you have star Martens, goal machine Miedema, midfield engine Groenen and wingers like Van de Sanden, it does become easier, but after the WC we do need to admit that coach Wiegman is probably the real superstar of this squad.

Wiegman demonstrated to be an excellent manager. She knows her football, she is a great communicator and she is realistic about where her team is, in their development.

She also makes the tough decision and despite that, all the players – even the benchwarmers – repeat it whenever they can: Wiegman is extremely important for the development of the Lionesses. Wiegman created a strong unified team, with a strong willingness to fight.

How did the coach herself experience the World Cup in France? A couple of themes below, with Sarina’s comments…

The Finals

“I think we were in it, until Team USA scored. That penalty was like an uppercut. And we became sloppy and gaps started to appear. And yes, we analysed them well and we knew they had fast wingers and penetrating midfielders and we had to play a more defensive game. We thought we could hurt them through the middle with speed and this is why I used Beerensteyn there. We played a 4-4-1-1, basically. And it did work, defensively, but offensively we didn’t create enough. I think the win for Team USA was the right result, really. But, we are still terribly disappointed. But also proud. In 2009, it was our first European Tournament. We had our WC debut in 2015 and now we reached the finals, s… The world has changed around us. That was something to experience. And we have performed under pressure, so I am happy. But now we need to keep on developing. Next time, I want to beat Team USA!”

The Quality of the Play

“During the European Championship in 2017, we went from surprise to surprise. No one expected us to win it. It was a big party in Holland, but the World Cup is even bigger… But we had to adapt. At the Euros we could play an offensive game and for the WC qualifications we had to deal with teams parking the bus. And at the WC tournament, we had to play different styles and cultures. Everyone expected us to be better on the ball and this needs to improve. Our opponents analyse our games and are astute enough to derail our tactics. Tactically, this WC was tough and the pace is so much higher. The reason why we were not as good, had a lot to do with the opposition. But what we did really well this time is scoring from dead ball situations. We weren’t so good in the past at this, and we worked so hard on it. And it worked out. We also scored some excellent open play goals, but at the top level you simply get less opportunities.”


“I never used the criticism we got as a motivator for the players. We are just more visible now, we get more exposure. The attention we get is actually really positive and really fun. People take us more serious now. Expectations changed. We used to be an underdog, now we are a contender. Criticism is part of our life and top players need to get used to this.”

Shanice van de Sanden

“Shanice is a very important player for us. She had tremendous impact with her assists and goals. But she had a tough tournament. She had trouble finding space and wasn’t as decisive with crosses. And our subs have played an important role in this tournament so when you do have a Beerensteyn on the bench, I have to use her when I can, right? And I can’t be the nice coach. I need to be tough and it’s hard for me too. I had to tell Anouk Dekker and Kika van Es that they would be starters but they all accepted their role and supported the team. I tip my hat for Shanice as she was subbed but we needed her to come on for us vs Sweden and did a top job!”

Fighting Machine

“Yes we are fighters. We always put in a lot of effort. My period in the US will have contributed to that. The US has a culture of working hard. We have a tremendous drive in our team, the will to win and to do it together. Those are strong weapons. We had tough times in this tournament but we hung on and fought for a result and once that works, it’s easier to bring that again in the next match. And you create a culture of winners. The US is a world class team, alright. But now, we can say: so are we!”

The Orange Fans

“The support was incredible and all those fans…. and it helped us tremendously. Make no mistake. They were in Rennes, in Lyon, In Valenciennes… Very special. And it gave that little bit extra motivation we probably needed at times. I once visited Shanice for a CL game of Lyon and I was impressed, 50,000 people! And again when we played there. We are starting to get used to that now, hahaha.”

The Olympics

“It’s super that we are going to the Olympics. It’s a bit thing in Women’s Fotball. And as a coach, I can now make a dream come true. All the Dutch top sporters together. That is special. We’re a small nation, but we have a huge sports heart. I will become terribly patriotic at the Olympics, I’m sure…”


“I didn’t get too emotional. I was quite relaxed during the Sweden game, I needed to be able to observe and analyse. I don’t think I’m helping the team when I’m running around like a mad woman. I was most emotional when we won the quarter finals. That meant we can go to Tokyo. That was an ambitious objective for us. Reaching the finals here and the semis before and qualifying for the Olympics, those are massive achievements for us. I have to pinch myself regularly and ask, is this all for real?”

Mental Strength

“I think I was a bit more controlled at this tournament, more than usual. That I had to train. I was never a controlled person, I was a pitbull as a player and I had to work hard on this. We have prepared ourselves enormously and this helped me to stay calm as well. I did everything I could to make this work and that is all you can do. I observe better with a clear and peaceful mind. I won’t divulge who I work with, but it works. I do think we had pressure on the team and that is all new for us. The players had to cope with this. And I told them, be brave. Play! And don’t bother what the world says. But it’s easy to say of course. But when you can’t achieve it with good football, at least go in for a fight. And now we do have a team that will always show up.”


“There is enormous potential in Dutch Women’s football. But the infrastructuur and facilities were lacking. When the Eredivisie started in 2007, we entered into a new phase. And now the players make or have made big steps into the big European world of football. It all start with belief and that we have. We have gained a lot in confidence. And we can be proud. Yes, we had some fortune at times but you make your luck too, sometimes. This World Cup will hopefully bring more impetus to the game in Holland.”


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  1. Thanks Jan! Great article / interview!

    It’s amazing how far the Dutch women’s team has come in such a short period of time. It’s a testament to the character of the people and the quality of their understanding of the sport that such a small nation can produce such outstanding men’s and women’s teams!

  2. Thanks Jan, really enjoyed the recap and and insight. Good information from Wiegmann. Nice way to put a cap on a fine performance. Much appreciation.


    Very excited to see what this season holds for this squad. Their backline seems to be question mark otherwise if van bommel has good contingent in hand. They should tie them down with huge release clauses.

    Joel piroe could be the surprise package imo. He is very good box striker something like icardi.

    1. Juventus has really blostered their squad for the new season.Ramsey,Rabiot,De ligt,Pellegrini,Buffon and most probably icardi swap as well.they will be favourites this time around.

      I think Ronaldo had a big hand in de ligts capture as the juventus back line was exposed badly last season.

  4. Yes, I think Ronaldo was recruiting de Ligt!

    Interesting that Juventus will not be included as part of the next FIFA video game, although apparently you can still play with their players as “Piedmonte Calcio”!

    Finally, here’s an interesting article on the decline of the No. 10 position, focusing on Ozil:

    It is argued that pressing is the new playmaker. Since we don’t really have a No. 10 currently, it will be interesting to see if we can make that strategy work…

  5. Redan signs for hertha Berlin on four year contract. Good move given he is 18 and if he breaks in to the starting 11, by 20 or 21 he will be on the radar for big guns in bundasliga. Cant see him breaking in NT for euros though.

    Joshua Zirkzee is also on the verge of returning to eredivisie after he was left out of the bayern team for pre season tour in US. ADO Hag is the likely destination for him on loan.

  6. Watched a good portion of the PSV-Wolfsburg match yesterday. Wolf. played at a much higher tempo, pressed high, and kept PSV penned up in their own half for most of what I saw. Bergwijn barely got into the action; Bruma looks like a useful addition; Malen showed flashes of real quickness and skill, but in truth, for most of the game, the forwards were so separated from the MF by Wolf.’s tactics, and willingness to run. PSV’s back four wasn’t very good. I know that you can’t put too much weight on preseason match, and that its possible (or even likely) that PSV’s performance was the result of Wolf. taking the preseason game more seriously. That said, Van Bommel couldn’t have gone to bed happy last night.

    1. sam Lammers as false 9 is not working. maybe he should start Malen, Lammers and Lozano together and bring either of Ihhattaren, Periero or afellay as attacking mid behind them.

      they really need to get a good central midfielder as well . Hendrixs and Rosairo partnership defensively doesnt look commanding at all.

  7. Yes, Lammers was not effective playing behind the front 3. Neither Hendrix or Rosario distinguished himself. My recollection is that you are not a fan of Berwijn, but to be fair, the front three were pretty much stranded, no connection or service from the MF or FB’s.

    1. Re: bergwijn.

      It was more a forecast to the hype that was building about him being the next big thing. Unfortunately now he will find others breathing around his neck especially if lozano stays. I predicted about Malen way back as his skill set looked superior to that of bergwijn who compared to malen had a head start. That gap has now closed and with Bruma,Lozano, Gakpo,Malen,the stage is set too see who has better ceiling.

      1. Chong also failed to make any impression in the two games played so far in pre season tour.their new signing daniel james looks like will overshadow him and looks better of the two in build up and speed wise as well.he will need to really take his chances when it comes along.

  8. Daishawn redan has arrived hertha Berlin and will play alongside Dutch winger javairo dilrosun from now on . Let’s hope these two will add some attacking firepower which the current Oranje side misses

    I’m so glad he has finally left Chelsea , again playing reserves will just destroy our youngsters careeer. I hope tahith chong and Joshua zirkzee will realise that

  9. So far.

    Frenkie De Jong – Barcelona

    Ludvoit Reis- Barcelona

    Mike van Beijen – Barcelona

    Matthijs De Ligt- Juventus

    Mitchel Bakker- PSG

    Daley Sinkgraven- Bayern Leverkusen

    Jeffery Bruma- Wolfsburg (end of loan schalke)

    Bobby Adekanye- Lazio

    Daishwan Redan- Hertha Berlin.

    Jasper Cillessen- Valencia

    Anwar El Ghazi- Aston Villa

    Sep van der Berg- liverpool

    Philippe Sandler- Anderlecht (Loan)

    Micheal Vlap- Anderlecht

    Luuk De Jong- Sevilla

    Jerdy Schouten- Bologna

    Stefano Denswil-Bologna

    Ryan babel -Galatasaray

    Tonny De Vilhnea- Krasnodar

    Erik Pieters- Burnely

    Mink peeters-Cukaricki

    Quincy Promes- Ajax

    Did I miss any.

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