USA vs Netherlands Preview

USA vs Netherlands Preview: Can Oranje Stop The US?

Four years ago, the United States made it to the World Cup final. In 2015, they faced a Japan side that never really gave the Americans much of a game at all, and the US won 5-2. The Netherlands will be hoping to give the US a much tougher test this time. Can they do it?

In order to get here, it’s fair to say the Dutch didn’t exactly thrill us as they defeated Sweden 1-0 in extra time. This was the kind of resolute performance that you tend to see late in tournaments, with the Netherlands looking as though tiredness might be something of a factor. Nonetheless, they toiled away and a Jackie Groenen strike from outside the box was good enough to win on the night.

The US, meanwhile, contested a much more entertaining game against England in which Christen Press and Alex Morgan goals in the first half were enough to see off the Lionesses, though there were questions of game management as England came close to equalising a few times in the second half. Both finalists were just winners in the semis, but that doesn’t mean either put in flawless performances. Read More

Netherlands vs Sweden

Netherlands vs Sweden Preview: A Tale of Two Tens

If we had been told before the tournament that Netherlands vs Sweden would be one of the semi-finals at the Women’s World Cup, we might not have been too surprised. But if we were told that they would have knocked out Japan, Germany and Canada between them on the way to the semi-final, we might have started to wonder what had happened in the competition.

Of course, the Netherlands are current European Champions and Sweden did make it through to the final of the World Cup in 2003 so these two teams are not without their pedigree. But neither side was entirely impressive in the run-up to this year’s tournament.

The Netherlands relied on playoff games against Denmark and Switzerland to cement their place and, although they qualified comfortably, Sweden also slumped to disappointing defeats to both Italy and Portugal – both teams they should have beaten comfortably – within the last year.

The comparisons do not end here. Both Sweden and the Netherlands play similar iterations of a 4-3-3 which can sometimes looks much closer to a 4-2-3-1. This ambiguity is determined by the way the number 10 functions within the system. Read More

Italy vs Netherlands Preview

Italy vs Netherlands Preview: The Battle Of The Shot-Shy

Saturday’s World Cup quarter-final between Italy and the Netherlands marks an incredible accomplishment for both sides. The Azzurre have only once reached this stage before – back in 1991 – while their orange-clad opponents have never before got past the round of 16, meaning the two teams are already making a major impact this summer.

“We really believe this side has allowed the women’s game to break new ground back home,” said Italy head coach Milena Bertolini after her side eliminated China in their last outing. “We can see that from the viewing figures, what we see in the press and from the messages we receive from back home. I know cultural changes take a lot of time, but this team are able to break down some of those prejudices and they are enacting change and that’s their mission.”

Indeed it is, but Bertolini will also have her players fully focused on the task at hand, proving in the aforementioned victory over China that they are one of the tournaments most tactically aware teams. Earlier matches had seen Italy use a 4-3-1-2 formation, but the coach switched that in the last 16, dropping Aurora Galli in favour of Valentina Bergamaschi and opting for a 4-2-3-1 framework from the outset. Read More

Netherlands vs Japan

Netherlands vs Japan Preview: A Clear Case Of Past Against Present

At this exact stage of the 2015 World Cup, Japan beat the Netherlands 2-1 and went on to reach their second consecutive final. Asako Takakura’s side are under no pressure to repeat the feats of their predecessors; after all, the two teams have followed vastly divergent trajectories since then.

The Dutch had qualified for that knockout round as one of the four best third-placed teams; they set up this 2019 re-match – a clear case of past vs present in the sport – by topping their group through an emphatic win. The former world champions are building a team for the future, while the reigning European champions are looking to graduate from their status as dark horses at the biggest stage, hoping to transition from pretenders to the throne to genuine contenders.

Knocking out Japan this early would be considered quite an accomplishment, considering the fact that the Netherlands are yet to prove themselves at this level at the World Cup. It should be kept in mind that this is only their second appearance at the finals, but expectations and aspirations have changed considerably since their debut four years ago. It does help that they have useful experience in a knockout environment: they won every knockout fixture by multiple goals at the 2017 European Championship on the way to lifting the trophy. Read More

Netherlands vs Canada

Netherlands vs Canada Preview: First Test For Outside Chancers

The Stade Auguste-Delaune in Reims will witness a meeting between two teams in very similar positions, both in terms of their standing in world football and their position in Group E.

Netherlands vs Canada could easily be a quarter or semi-final, and could well be the latter if both are still in the tournament come July, but the two teams will have to continue to improve as they progress for this to happen.

To watch Canada in the early rounds of this tournament is to watch a team doing a job, and little more. This brand of football can be dismissed as functional and not the type which will win a tournament, but in truth functional teams can, and often do, end up winning trophies. The Canadians are one of only three teams in the World Cup to have kept a clean sheet in all of their matches so far, after all.

A big test of Canada’s credentials will come against the Netherlands. It will be the first time they have faced a team on a similar level to themselves, and the same can be said of their opponents. Read More

Netherlands vs Cameroon

Netherlands vs Cameroon Preview: The Battle of the Lionesses

Following their unexpected victory at the 2017 European Championship on home soil, the Netherlands have often been regarded as favourites against any opposition. That didn’t change in the build-up to their Group E opener against New Zealand. And although it was billed as a heavyweight mismatch, what followed was anything but.

A defensive masterclass from the Football Ferns stifled the famously deadly Dutch attack, who struggled to pose any real danger and were unable to break down a stubborn backline – until the dramatic dying moments, when substitute Jill Roord finished from close range. The relief was evident, but Sarina Wiegman and her Orange Lionesses will not want to leave it so late against Cameroon.

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New Zealand vs Netherlands

New Zealand vs Netherlands Preview: European Champions the favourites here

When the final day of the first round of fixtures at the Women’s World Cup 2019 commences, we will see New Zealand vs Netherlands in a group E match at Stade Oceane.

While the Football Ferns come into this tournament as the underdogs, the Orange Lionesses arrive as reigning European champions, with some high-quality players at their disposal.

This is New Zealand’s fourth consecutive World Cup appearance after a 16-year hiatus between 1991 and 2007. They haven’t gone past the group stages each time, which really underlines their credentials as the ultimate underdogs. Read More