Because this is a Women’s World Cup year, I have decided to countdown to the tournament by providing a short soccer/fitness related preview of each of the 24 participating nations. In this instalment, I will look at the Netherlands, who is making their first ever appearance at the Women’s World Cup. They have been drawn in Group A, along with Canada, China, and New Zealand, and will play their first match against New Zealand on June 6th, 2015.
As newcomers to the tournament, the Netherlands had to beat some quality European opposition to qualify, including Italy and their neighbours Belgium. Interestingly, one important event that occurred in Belgium and the Netherlands in 2012 has just now begun to bear fruit for the Dutch women’s team. That year, the young Belgian and Dutch women’s professional leagues agreed on a merger, combining the best teams from both countries to create the “BeNe” League (short for Belgium-Netherlands”). This new super-league has increased the level of competition for all players from both countries, and its creation may be one of the reasons for the recent success of the Dutch national team.
The Netherlands have drawn a difficult group, which includes host and former 4th place finishers Canada, former runners-up China, and 5-time competitors New Zealand. Can the new experience gained from the BeNe League help them to get out of this tough group and possibly even further in the tournament? We will have to see what happens in 1 month’s time.
I’d love to hear your thoughts about this topic. Drop me a line here to get the conversation started.