The Orange Lionesses have qualified for next year’s World Cup in France. Despite an early red card for centre back Anouk Dekker, the Dutch women were never in real danger in their qualification play-off final against Switzerland on Tuesday night. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, aggregate score: 4-1 for the Netherlands.
The decisive leg at a misty stadium in Schaffhausen looked like a formality after the Netherlands’ comfortable 3-0 first leg victory at home. But a red card after only seven minutes, following a professional foul by experienced centre-back Anouk Dekker, seemed to reverse Dutch fortunes.
However, the guests held their ground. Young midfielder Jill Roord, who had finally made it to the starting line-up, was substituted for defender Merel Van Dongen, enabling the Dutch to keep up the pressure up front. The move paid off seven minutes into the second half when Vivianne Miedema finished off a subtle move after a fine attack, giving the Netherlands an insurmountable 4-0 aggregate lead.
Switzerland’s equaliser, courtesy of Coumba Sow twenty minutes before the final whistle, didn’t spoil the fun for Sarina Wiegman’s side, who now proceed to next year’s competition in France. There, they willl join fellow European qualifiers England, Germany, Italy, Norway, Scotland, Spain and Sweden, and of course tournament hosts France.