For months, attempts have been made to mobilize the Dutch people in New Zealand, and a real Orange rally is being held at every Orange Lionesses World Cup match, but there will be no support from a huge Orange crowd for Andris Juncker’s team. Fewer than 2,000 Dutch fans have bought a ticket for the Orange Lionesses, who will play against the United States in a packed stadium.
After weeks of on-field failures, haka riots and logistical challenges, the ball will finally roll for the Dutch team on Sunday. The World Cup competitions in Australia and New Zealand begin for the Netherlands with a decisive match against Portugal. But no matter how important that game was, the stadium in Dunedin is currently less than 30 percent full. Would you ask any New Zealander why that is? Then they answer: “Rugby.”
Wherever you walk in New Zealand: the country breathes rugby. In Tauranga, home of the Orange Laboys, you won’t pass by a café without watching a rugby match on TV. Cars are decorated with All Blacks (New Zealand rugby team) flags and anyone landing at Auckland Airport immediately heads to the All Blacks Store to buy coffee mugs, scarves or teddy bears that make New Zealand proud.
Tickets sold (latest information from July 14)
Netherlands – Portugal: 7,954 (591 Dutch) – Capacity: 25,947
United States – Netherlands: 31,038 (1,083 Dutch) – Capacity: 34,500
Vietnam – Netherlands: 3,515 (226 Dutch) – Capacity: 25,947
“Football is simply not the biggest sport,” explains Ard van der Vorst, of the Dutch Embassy in New Zealand. “Everyone plays football in Holland, everyone plays rugby here. But I can say: there has never been a tournament as big as this here before, so we feel very proud. The opening match of the World Cup in Auckland was the biggest ever in terms of scale.
The fact that New Zealand pulled off a trick against Norway in that opening match was a welcome boost to the Women’s World Cup. At least 42,137 people, a record for a New Zealand football match, witnessed the event in a packed Eden Park.
The match against the United States looks like it will be a magical match of sorts
Given the location, things don’t always go well during Orange Lionesses matches
The fact that there has been no rush so far in Dutch matches in Dunedin is partly down to the location. Dunedin is located in southern New Zealand. Only 1.1 million people live in the entire South Island, while Auckland alone – in the North Island, with a population of 3.6 million – already has a population of 1.6 million.
So, although orange mascot Kiki has been popping up all over Australia and New Zealand in recent months to the excitement of Dutch people (there are about 40,000 in New Zealand, ed.) there are also real Facebook and Instagram pages for ‘Orange Fans in Australia/’NZ’: it seems The Orange Lionesses are bound to generate excitement themselves with their World Cup performance, which can be followed from various cities in Australia and New Zealand in so-called “watching parties”.
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“Yes, it will be fine” is the motto of many New Zealanders. In other words: it will happen. The question is whether this also applies to the large numbers of fans at World Cup matches against Portugal and Vietnam. However, the Dutch team expects a full stadium against the United States, a repeat of the 2019 World Cup final. That match will be held in Wellington, the capital. “Everyone is talking about that match,” says van der Vorst. “This is turning into a kind of magic match. We will make it a great party, as we can perform very well in Holland.
World Cup game
Predict the results of all World Cup matches and also predict the top scorer in the Orange Lionesses national team matches. Before you start predicting matches, you can also answer four additional questions about the World Cup with which you can earn extra points after the World Cup. Join us here!
World Cup schedule
See the full FIFA Women’s World Cup schedule here.
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