Persistence Pays Off: Orange Women’s Olympic Dream Still Alive Despite Defeat

By Jeroen van Barneveld

Feb 23, 2024 at 10:59 PM Update: 8 minutes ago

Even after a hopeless defeat against Spain on Friday, the Orange Women can continue to dream of participating in the Olympic Games in Paris. The Netherlands lost 3-0 in Seville, but will get a second chance with a victory over France in the other semi-final of the Nations League on Wednesday.

The Netherlands were outplayed by Spain from the kick-off. However, the world champion only took distance in the 41st minute through Jennifer Hermoso, the player who unintentionally received a kiss on the mouth from the now departed Spanish federation president last summer.

The Dutch team was knocked out by Spain before half time: Aitana Bonmatí scored the 2-0 from close range. Despite some offensive substitutions, the Dutch team were unable to make up for the deficit in the Olympic Stadium in Seville. Ona Batlle also made it 3-0.

France offered the Dutch team a lifeline by winning the other semi-final against Germany 2-1. In principle, the Olympic tickets go to the two finalists of the Nations League. But now that the host country of the Games is in the final battle, the last ticket goes to the winner of the consolation final.

The Netherlands will play the all-deciding match for a place at the Games against Germany on Wednesday in Heerenveen. The match in the Abe Lenstra Stadium starts at 8:45 PM. Germany reached the final at the 2022 European Championship, but was eliminated in the group stage at the last World Cup.

Frustration for Lineth Beerensteyn after a Spain goal. Photo: Getty Images

The Dutch team receives football lessons from Spain

Last summer, the Dutch team was played from pillar to post for an hour in the quarter-finals of the World Cup by the future world champion Spain. Six months later, the same scenario occurred in Seville as in Wellington, New Zealand.

Even with the recovered Vivianne Miedema in the starting line-up, the Dutch team received football lessons from the Spaniards from the start in the much too large Olympic Stadium. It was due to the Spanish attacker’s tinkering that the score remained 0-0 for a while.

After eight minutes, Salma Paralluelo failed face to face with goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar. A minute later she missed another great opportunity after Van Domselaar had simply handed the ball over. And halfway through the first half, Van Domselaar saved when Paralluelo came at her again. The powerless Dutch team only countered with a shot from Lineth Beerensteyn.

A Spanish goal was inevitable and came in the 41st minute. Lieke Martens let Hermoso run away from her back and the Spaniard was able to tap in with her left: 1-0. Barely recovered from the shock, the Dutch team took the 2-0. Bonmatí, named World Footballer of the Year in October, tapped in a beautiful cross from Mariona Caldentey.

Spain was always too fast for the Netherlands. Photo: ANP

The Netherlands also have no chance after the break

The Netherlands faced an impossible task in Spain, but Lyon provided a welcome lifebuoy. France was already 2-0 ahead against Germany at halftime, so the match against Spain no longer seemed to be crucial in the battle for an Olympic ticket.

Jonker tried to force something after the break by playing more attacking football without the substituted Miedema and playing 4-3-3 instead of 3-5-2. It was all to no avail for the weak Dutch team.

The Netherlands still had a nice chance through Martens, but her header from close range sailed just a few meters over the Spanish crossbar. It was actually the only achievement for Jonker’s team in the second half.

Spain slowed down, but made it 3-0 in the final phase. Batlle shot into an empty goal, even though Paralluelo appeared to have made hands. It became especially exciting in Seville because Germany scored 2-1 against France in the final phase. However, the French took the lead over the line. And so the Netherlands is still alive for the Games.

Spain celebrates Olympic qualification. Photo: Getty Images
2024-02-23 21:59:16
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