Popularity Orange women in dip six years after European Championship title: ‘Always in waves’
After the European title at home in 2017, the Orange women couldn’t fail. The Dutch team was hugely popular and the stadiums were sold out more often than not.
Now, six years later, that popularity seems to be waning. Even national coach Andries Jonker sees that. “I think you only become European champion once in your own country. And then you have a kind of after effect,” Jonker knows.
“After that, you don’t become a world champion. You become second. I think that’s still great, but then you see that interest wanes a little bit. And that there’s a phase where it’s not so easy anymore.”
“And in all reality: in 2017 the Netherlands was the best,” Jonker analyzes the past few years. “Very slowly other countries have surpassed that.”
Beginning of better times
Still, the national coach of the Orange women does not see it as very gloomy. “What I do notice is that the enthusiasm is increasing again, that people like to watch. I think this is the beginning of better times again.”
Indeed, Jonker knows from experience that “it never steady goes up, but always in waves. We had a huge wave up in 2017. Then down a bit and hopefully now up again.”
World Cup bid
According to Jonker, the bid submitted by the Netherlands together with Germany and Belgium to host the 2027 World Cup is very important in this regard. Especially also for enthusing the younger generations.
“In this day and age, children seem to be born with a phone in their hand and that is subsequently the main occupation.” Jonker is therefore concerned about the extent to which young people still engage in sports and exercise.
“Over the years, soccer has been important to a lot of kids. I’m afraid we’re going to lose that. Or partly losing it. And so you have to make sure it remains the greatest game in the world. For those kids.”
Gijs de Jong, secretary general of the KNVB, talks more about the bid for the 2027 World Cup in the video below:
KNVB hopes to win 2027 World Cup with Belgium and Germany: ‘Want to reach whole world’
For the upcoming World Cup – from July 20 to August 20 in New Zealand and Australia – Jonker has therefore not only set the goal of winning. “We also want to play appealing soccer, because with that we make soccer popular. And objective three is to inspire. That people want to see it, want to play it. That people go and keep loving it.”
“That’s what we can do and we do have that pretty much in our own hands. How we play soccer is up to us, how we act and behave as well. Whether we win, we need an opponent for that. They have to cooperate or we have to bring them to their knees.”