Who replaces Miedema at Oranje at World Cup? Kalma and Leuchter offer themselves
Who replaces Miedema at Orange? Kalma, Leuchter or yet someone else?
“It hurts,” says national coach Andries Jonker when he talks about the absence of top striker Vivianne Miedema during the Dutch soccer women’s training camp in Malta. The Dutch national team’s top scorer has torn a cruciate ligament and will most likely have to miss the World Cup next summer.
Jonker has three more practice matches to see who will play at the point of attack during the title tournament in New Zealand and Australia. Two players being looked at for that vacancy are Fenna Kalma of FC Twente and Romée Leuchter of Ajax.
‘Type of Eijkelkamp’
Kalma, Twente’s 23-year-old goal-scoring machine, is a “type of Eijkelkamp,” according to Jonker. By this he means René Eijkelkamp, the former striker of FC Groningen, Club Brugge, PSV and Oranje. He scored regularly and had an impressive physique. But he was also known as the clumsy pro who once tripped over the center line.
The comparison is meant positively. Jonker: “It all doesn’t look so smooth. But Fenna is a big girl and she is strong on the ball and cool in front of the goal.”
Leuchter, one year younger than her competitor, is a totally different type. She, too, gets compliments from Jonker. “She is more dynamic, more able to move in the corners and has a good kick in her right leg. Also a good striker.”
Both players say they believe in their chance to become first strikers at the World Cup. Leuchter is the most outspoken: “Of course I have confidence that I can be in the starting lineup during the World Cup.”
Kalma does not yet have the status in Oranje that she has at Twente, where she scored the huge number of 45 goals in 2022, but she thinks she can pick up quickly. “The more often you are here and the more you play here, the better you can grow in this level,” she said.
National coach Jonker has not yet determined his choice. “I don’t have a preference yet. I have to figure out now who is the best option.”
Last Friday, Kalma was allowed to start in the lost practice match against Austria. She was replaced fifteen minutes before time by Lineth Beerensteyn, also one of the options to replace Miedema. Leuchter remained on the bench for ninety minutes.
On Tuesday, the Orange will play another practice match against Austria. In that match, the women want to revenge for Friday’s defeat. For the potential strikers of the Netherlands, it is another chance to show that they should become the striker of Orange.
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