The Netherlands women’s team trounced Chile 7-0 in a pre-World Cup friendly on Tuesday night, with six goals scored before half time. Woman of the match was Arsenal playmaker Daniëlle van de Donk, who netted four times.
Particularly the first period was impressive, with the Orange Lionesses getting off to a lightning start and keeping up the pace and the pressure right up to the break.
Was it the impending announcement of the World Cup squad by manager Sarina Wiegman, scheduled the next day, that inspired the players to show their best? Or was it the weakness of the guests, placed 39th in the FIFA Women's World Ranking, that enabled the Netherlands to dominate the game from start to finish?
Whatever the reason, the home crowd in the AFAS stadium in Alkmaar had a great time, celebrating one goal after the other. Van de Donk already had a hat trick to her name within 28 minutes; the other goal scorers before half time were Lieke Martens, Vivianne Miedema and Shanice van de Sanden.
The hosts shifted down a gear during the second period. They were contented to sit on their lead, giving their coach the opportunity to test half a dozen substitutes. The seventh goal came six minutes before the final whistle with a perfect header by Van de Donk.
This was the second friendly within five days that involved an opponent from Latin America. On Friday, the Netherlands eased past Mexico, positioned 26th on the World Rankings, with a 2-0 victory at the Gelredome in Arnhem. The hosts took the lead halfway through the first period when Arsenal striker Vivianne Miedema hammered home a rebound after the Mexican goalkeeper had saved a long-range strike from Jill Roord.
The decider came just before the break when Lieke Martens fired a diagonal precision shot low into the far corner. The Netherlands could have scored a few more goals in the second half, but Shanice van der Sanden kept hitting the woodwork and efforts by Miedema and Roord were smothered by the Mexican defence. All in all, the two comfortable home victories served to boost the confidence of the Orange Lionesses, which had been dented by a poor performance at the Algarve Cup just over a month ago.
Prior to the Mexico friendly, two Orange Lionesses were honoured: Lieke Martens for notching up her 100th appearance for the Netherlands at the Algarve Cup last month and Sherida Spitse for setting a new record with 159 international appearances. During her century of matches, 26-year-old Martens scored 40 goals; Spitse (28) has 30 goals to her name.
The Netherlands will continue their preparations for this summer’s World Cup with a friendly against the Matildas (Australia) on Saturday 1 June. A few days later, they will travel to France for their first match of the tournament against New Zealand on Tuesday 11 June.
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