USWNT up against Dutch juggernaut: 'I have confidence in our team'

The USA shut out the Netherlands, 2-0, in the 2019 Women's World Cup final.

It also shut out the Oranje Leeuwinnen, 2-0, in its first game back from the pandemic lockdown in November 2020 after a layoff of more than eight months.

That friendly in Breda, like the final in Lyon two years ago, wasn't close. The Dutch managed just seven shots over 180 minutes, one on target.

Friday's meeting between the USA and the Netherlands in the Olympic quarterfinals in Yokohama could be a lot different.

In three games at the Tokyo Olympics, the Dutch have scored 21 goals -- a touchdown a game -- and have already shattered the tournament scoring record set by the USA in 2012 when it scored 16 goals en route to the gold medal.

Vivianne Miedema, who wasn't in Breda, has already scored eight goals, breaking the previous Olympic tournament record of six originally set by Canadian Christine Sinclair in 2012. (Yes, the London Olympics were a fun tournament.)

U.S. coach Vlatko Andonovski says the Dutch are a very attacking team, listing off three other players, Lieke Martens, Shanice van de Sanden and Danielle van de Donk, who are on the books at Barcelona, Wolfsburg and Lyon, which won 10 of the last 11 European club titles between them.

"They are very creative in the final third," he said on a media call early on Thursday from Tokyo.

The game will be a big test for the U.S. defense, which allowed four goals in the first two games at the Olympics, as many as it gave up in Andonovski's first 23 games in charge. He preferred to look at the third game -- a 0-0 tie with Australia -- as what to expect out of the USA.

"We showed if we want to defend we can defend," he said. "We were able to defend one of the best players in the world [Sam Kerr] in the last game. I have confidence in our team. I have confidence in our defenders that they're going to be able to do it in the next game as well."

The Dutch are making their first appearance in women's soccer at the Olympics. They've been to the last two World Cups, but their emergence came at Euro 2017, which they hosted and won with a sweep of six games, including an impressive run of wins over Sweden (2-0), England (3-0) and Norway (4-2) in the knockout stage.

Andonovski said he is not surprised by how they have done at the Olympics.

"They believe in their system," he said. "They believe in what they do. They are rigid at times, which makes them as good as they are. Their system works over and over in different games."

Martens Photo: Pro Shots/Imago/Icon Sportswire

8 comments about "USWNT up against Dutch juggernaut: 'I have confidence in our team'".
  1. Wooden Ships, July 29, 2021 at 11:24 a.m.

    Holland gets their revenge. Personally, I don't feel that our age is the issue, just not playing well, poor touches to often leading to transition the other way. Some occasional decision making mistakes and being late in movement. Like the men our women lack the sublime with the ball. 

  2. Ben Myers replied, July 29, 2021 at 1:43 p.m.

    When you talk about the USMNT lacking the sublime with the ball, is this the varsity, junior varsity, second junior varsity team?  I think that the varisty composed mostly of European based players will become more cohesive and intersting toi watch during the CONCACAF qualifiers for the World Cup.

  3. Bob Ashpole replied, July 29, 2021 at 4:08 p.m.

    Ben, compare Dest and Pulisic on the ball to the rest. Thier facility with the ball and speed of play are in stark contract with the rest of the team. I am hoping that we can build on their technical ability with some of the other young players (Reyna, Weah, Busio, Sargent and Adams). At this point this is speculative, but I am hopeful that these five plus McKennie, Pulisic and Dest can significantly raise the US level of play in the future. Even if they can, we need another 10 field players in the pool with great fundamentals and ball skills.

    10 great field players is not enough. A national team needs at least 20.  

  4. Bob Ashpole replied, July 29, 2021 at 6:33 p.m.

    WS, my view is different. I don't worry about the USWNT losing a match. I worry about the USWNT losing their culture. Their culture has been attacking football for over 30 years. Last match they play defensive football, not attacking football, against Australia! Is USSF going to have them play defensive soccer again?

    I have faith in the players. I don't have faith in the managers.

  5. Wooden Ships replied, July 29, 2021 at 7:18 p.m.

    Bob, it's not that I worry, but as a player I always want to win. When it comes to a change of culture, we are in need of one with the women. Meaning, to stay ahead of the other countries, we need better skilled players. No longer can we ignore our ball defencicies and win with athleticism. We also seem a step slower in recognition. I'm not blaming the players currently, they are what they are and they've been successful. But without developing more talented players how much longer can we continue? 

  6. Bob Ashpole replied, July 30, 2021 at 4:52 a.m.

    WS, you know I agree with that--we need to play smarter soccer, i.e., a more technical style. That requires excellent fundamentals and ball skills. I have been hoping in my posts for USSF to move us into positional play, but it apparently is never going to happen through USSF. They are too wedded to the past.

    The culture I am talking about is playing attacking soccer using 3 forwards to overwelm opponents, combined with mental and physical toughness. I don't want to replace the mental and physical toughness (that you celebrate for good reason). I want to add better skills and tactics to them.

  7. Kevin Leahy, July 29, 2021 at 1:52 p.m.

    When you get into your 30"s the changes maybe slight but, they happen no matter how fit you are. What you may have done 99 times out of 100 becomes less so. It is why a player like Ineista leaves Barca to play in Japan. He knew what was happening to his game. I don't rule out anything tomorrow but, most of these players have come to the end of the international line. 

  8. R2 Dad, July 29, 2021 at 2:36 p.m.

    If we play a 4-3-3 our midfield will most certainly be overrun against a dutch side itching for revenge. This guarantees we spend a lot more  time in our defensive 3rd and counterattacking. When we set up this way it alleviates the issue of being unable to maintain possession against top teams, which our squad is not built to do. But we don't have a back line built to defend, we have a back line built to hit long balls out to wings and recycle without pressure. If we go out in the quarterfinals, I want to know who will get fired, USSF. But I also don't trust USSF to roll the right heads, either.

Next story loading loading..

Discover Our Publications