Soccer players fuel confidence in 3-5-2 system with show against Poland: 4-1
Exactly one hundred days before the start of the Women’s World Cup, the Netherlands beat Poland 4-1 in a practice match at Het Kasteel in Rotterdam.
National coach Andries Jonker, who was extraordinarily satisfied with the game shown on Friday despite the 1-0 defeat against top nation Germany, saw his team once again give a very attractive performance.
Poland is not a World Cup contender, but proved to be a level opponent. Still, the Orange convinced from start to finish with dominant play.
Under the watchful eye of the injured Vivianne Miedema and technical director of the KNVB Nigel de Jong, the Netherlands started in a 5-3-2 formation as they did against Germany last Friday.
Sherida Spitse therefore again played in the last line and the from one injury recovered Esmee Brugts (left) and Victoria Pelova (right) as attacking wingbacks. The two proved a constant scourge for their opponents.
Because just like against Germany, the Orange started the match strongly, with well-groomed play and some nice chances.
Unlucky in the first half was Damaris Egurrola, who suffered three hard blows to her head and eventually had to be sidelined. She was replaced by Aniek Nouwen, allowing Sherida Spitse to return to her familiar controlling role in midfield.
Shortly after the substitution, the Dutch were dealt a jaw-dropping blow themselves. At the first Polish corner, midfielder Weronika Zawistowska was overlooked and her shot flew with some luck over goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar into the far corner. The ball seemed to disappear into the net, but star player Ewa Pajor – eager, as befits a top scorer in the Champions League – gave the final touch.
Just after that 1-0, Poland had another chance. Van Domselaar kept the breakthrough Sylwia Matysik from scoring and saw to her relief how the rebound by Natalia Wróbel bumped past the goal.
The Orange then picked up the gauntlet again and continued happily creating chances. After a fine move by Victoria Pelova, Lineth Beerensteyn saw her hard slide hit the inside of the post.
Goalkeeper Semich seemed to hit that shot just barely with her fingertips, as she had to act on a Brugts effort moments later. The deserved equalizer fell shortly before halftime: a cross from Lieke Martens landed on the back of defender Malgorzata Grec and disappeared into the goal.
Shortly after halftime, Beerensteyn still got the goal she had been coveting for two games. Brugts fooled her defender and her cross was headed into the goal by Beerensteyn via the inside of the post: 2-1.
After that, standout Brugts was rested and allowed to go to the side to loud applause. Pelova – who until this week had never played wingback, according to coach Jonker – was far from finished and a quarter of an hour before time gave a perfect cross, which was tapped in by Martens via Beerensteyn.
Her second of the evening was Martens’ 59th international goal, putting her on par with Manon Melis on the Orange’s top scorer list. Only Miedema scored more goals for the Orange: 95.
Ten minutes before time, Pelova, Beerensteyn and Martens got their crowd change and the newly 17-year-old Wieke Kaptein (called “Twente’s engine” by national coach Jonker) was allowed to make her debut.
Cold in the field, she was allowed to celebrate the 4-1. That came courtesy of Jill Roord, who worked a cross from another substitute Katja Snoeijs into the goal.
Another practice match
On July 2, the Dutch will play another practice game in Kerkrade against Belgium. The first World Cup opponent is Portugal on July 23 in New Zealand’s Dunedin. Four days later in Wellington is the cracker against the United States. On Aug. 1, the Netherlands concludes the group stage against Vietnam.
Or as Beerensteyn put it after the match. “If we can bring it up et play like today, we can win from anyone.