Injury to permanent forcesWith Mark Parsons as a full-time national coach for the first time, the orangey could take a big step towards the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand with wins tomorrow in and against the Czech Republic. But Parsons has to improvise.
The 35-year-old said goodbye to his club, the Portland Thorns, and is now a full-time national coach for Orange Women, having played a double role in previous international matches. It’s still a bit of a fresh start, after his first four international matches were often surrounded by embarrassment. For example, he finished his first stint with jet lag and then missed a flight thus part of preparing for a duel with Cyprus. His start was not overwhelming either, including a difficult draw on his debut in Groningen against tomorrow’s opponent, the Czech Republic (1-1). In other duels, the football match did not end, although Iceland (0-2), Cyprus (0-8) and Belarus (0-2) won.
Parsons has a puzzle to solve the last World Cup qualifier in the calendar year. He is missing at least four key players through injuries: Lake Martins, Jackie Gronin, Anik Nouen, and CSKA Volkertsma. Parsons sees this as a ‘challenge’ and knows the strengths of Czech women’s football. We have never come across a team as strong as the Czech Republic in terms of tactical discipline. We are already late in preparing for the World Cup qualifying group. It will be interesting to see how much risk they will take tomorrow. They have to win and play at home. We have to realize that, but it can also provide opportunities. Maybe they’re donating more space than they did in September.”
If the lionesses win at the Mestsky Stadium in Ostrava, an important step will be taken towards qualification for the World Cup. Orange has ten points after four games. Iceland and Czech Republic play one game less and have six and four points respectively. Belarus has played only two matches and has three points. Cyprus (four matches) without a win.
Next Monday, the Dutch footballers will train in The Hague against Japan (7.40 pm) to wrap up this international match.
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