World Cup Dutch team
Vivianne Miedema scored all three goals in two UEFA playoff matches versus Italy to help the Netherlands book a trip to Canada.
The Dutch are set to make their Women's World Cup debut, but how far can they go?
The Dutch traveled a tough European qualifying road from the start, grouped with perennial powerhouse Norway, but the two-point gap between them and first place was the smallest of any UEFA runner-up. Their high point total (and fantastic goal differential of plus-37) earned them a spot in the playoffs, where they beat Scotland and then Italy over two legs, with a 1-1 draw at home and a 2-1 win on the road to reach their first Cup.World Rankings
The Netherlands peaked at No. 11 early in the year, but currently sit 12th overall:
The Netherlands has long been considered a sleeping giant. With training methods and infrastructure already in place thanks to Holland's rich tradition in the men's game, it was just a matter of time before the Oranje Leeuwinnen (Lionesses) made the dance. After reaching the semifinals of the 2009 Euros and winning UEFA's U19 tourney last year, the Dutch are starting to realize their potential - though it's not yet Total Football. Expect them to try to defend and counter to the second round in Canada.Projected Formation
The Netherlands usually plays with a 4-3-3 lineup:
Will the BeNe League experiment pay off? This Women's World Cup marks the first major tourney since Belgium and the Netherlands joined forces to create an elite circuit intended to accelerate the development of female players in both countries. The league stopped play in April after two seasons. But during its brief life, it provided valuable experience for a new generation of talented youngsters who will try to help coach Roger Reijners' squad make a memorable debut on the big stage.
Players to watch
Here are three Dutch players who should be on your radar:
• Sherida Spitse, M: At 25, the physical defensive midfielder already has triple-digit caps for her country, and she played all but six of the 1, 260 minutes during the Netherland's qualification campaign.
• Vivianne Miedema, F: The 18-year-old striker has improved her finishing with Bayern Munich's women's side and led all scorers in UEFA qualifying. In the group stage, she scored a hat trick against Portugal in 15 minutes.
• Manon Melis, F: With more than 10 years of international experience and 45 goals, Melis will be relied on to open up space for Miedema or provide scoring herself (she had seven goals in UEFA, tied for best on the squad).
The first two matches will be played at Commonwealth Stadium in Edmonton, Alberta, while the third will be held at Olympic Stadium in Montreal:
• June 6: New Zealand, 9 p.m. ET
• June 11: China, 6 p.m. ET
• June 15: Canada, 7:30 p.m. ET
I am taking the Netherlands to be the surprise Group A winner; I'm just not convinced Canada has enough to win the group. The Dutch have a phenomenal young player in Vivianne Miedema, who carried the team on her back through UEFA World Cup qualifiers with a team-leading 16 goals. Yes, she is just 18 years old.
Onze @Anoukhoogendijk heeft vandaag haar boek gepresenteerd! Vanavond vertelt ze er alles over in @RTLLateNight- OranjeLeeuwinnen (@oranjevrouwen)
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