The Netherlands Women's Football team will begin their 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup campaign on 11th June when they will cross swords with their New Zealand counterparts. Placed in Group E alongside the Kiwis, Canada, and Cameroon, expect the Dutch ladies to give the higher-ranked Canada a run for their money.
This will be Netherlands' second appearance in the FIFA Women's World Cup after making their debut in 2015. Then, they were ousted by the eventual finalists Japan in the Round of 16. Since then, the Netherlands women's team have grown exponentially and even won the UEFA Women's Euro 2017 Championship in their own backyard.
They finished as one of the four best second-placed teams in the Women's World Cup European Qualifiers before routing Denmark and Switzerland to book their ticket to France.
At just 22 years of age, the Netherlands' Vivianne Miedema has been touted by many as the best female striker in the world. She is the third youngest player in the Dutch squad but already has 74 caps to her name and scored 57 goals for her country.
Miedema has been on fire for Arsenal in the domestic circuit, which resulted in her winning the PFA Women's Player of the Year award. She scored a total of 31 goals for them this season and even guided them to clinch the Women's Super League trophy.
The Netherlands' attacking options doesn't end with Miedema. Lieke Martens has 102 caps and 42 goals for her country and is at her peak at the age of 26. Martens reached the finals of the UEFA Women's Champions League with Barcelona where they lost 4-1 to Lyon.
This will be the second Women's World Cup for the Ronaldinho fan after she scored against New Zealand in their previous outing.
Sari van Veenendaal
Leading the Netherlands into their second FIFA Women's World Cup will be their goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal. The 29-year-old has already made 52 appearances for her country and would be raring to wear the captain's armband once again.
Sari played for Arsenal in the previous season but is currently unattached. Her reflexes under the bar for the Netherlands can earn her a lucrative contract in the transfer window.
The Netherlands Women's Football Team Squad
Goalkeepers: Sari van Veenendaal (c), Loes Geurts, Lize Kop
Defenders: Desiree van Lunteren, Stefanie van der Gragt, Kika van Es, Anouk Dekker, Merel van Dongen, Danique Kerkdijk, Dominique Bloodworth, Liza van der Most
Midfielders: Victoria Pelova, Sherida Spitse, Danielle van de Donk, Jill Roord, Jackie Groenen, Inessa Kaagman
Forwards: Shanice van de Sanden, Vivianne Miedema, Lieke Martens, Renate Jensen, Ellen Jansen, Lineth Beerensteyn
The Netherlands Women's Football Team World Cup Fixtures
Tuesday, June 11: New Zealand vs The Netherlands
Saturday, June 15: The Netherlands vs Cameroon
Thursday, June 20: The Netherlands vs Canada
The Netherlands' Women's Football Team doesn't lack in quality. However, their inexperience in winning laurels at the international stage coupled with their recent dip in form, where they lost to Poland and Spain, could prove to be a roadblock in the crucial junctures of the competition.
However, they should find it easy to make it out of their group and even win their Round of 16 encounter. But going past the quarter-final stage would be a tough task for the Netherlands and that is where we predict they would stumble.Published 31 May 2019, 08:00 IST