Thanks in part to the successes of the Orange team, women’s football has been on the rise over the years. For example, a record 5.5 million Dutch people watched how the women lost a World Cup final to the United States in 2019. This is still slightly lower than the record set by men in 2014, when 9.1 million Dutch watched the World Cup semi-final match. against Argentina.
“They really do crawl together,” says sports marketer Sundar Malli. “Not only is there more interest in women’s football in the Netherlands, that is the case everywhere.”
Malley says the findings also played an important role in this. “We have seen many milestones in recent years, such as the classic between the Feyenoord Ladies and Ajax at Quip and the successes of the Lionesses. Although we are used to it now, it is still very special.”
Anne-Marie Postma, author of Oranje Leeuwinnen, sees women’s soccer as having grown exponentially in popularity. “The European Championship was of course in the Netherlands. That was great. The stadiums were full and the Netherlands eventually won the tournament. In the World Cup they got to the final and that was great.”
Postma also finds that a lot has changed for the athletes themselves in recent years. “Medema and Martins are really two world stars. They are known all over the world and recognized in many places.”
According to Postma, the competition premiums equation for the Dutch men’s and women’s teams has also contributed to this. “Women’s football is a young sport. Things like that help greatly in making this young sport more popular.”
But these results are somewhat disappointing for the time being. So the Lionesses will not be counted among the nominees for this summer’s final prize when they begin their adventure against Sweden on Wednesday.
“It remains to be seen how the orange lionesses do,” says Postma. “They haven’t performed fancy recently and a lot of other countries have developed. For example, the native England is a really favourite,” says Postma. “But everyone knows that the Netherlands should never be left out.”
Partly due to the disappointing performance, Postma notes that the vote for the European Championship has yet to fully take place in the Netherlands. “I have an idea that it’s now being experienced a little differently in the Netherlands than it was during the past tournaments. It all starts out a little bit slower and people really live differently towards the tournament.”
Regardless of the results, Mali expects the orange to be feeling OK eventually this summer. “I think people always yearn for the way we feel. It will be no different during the European Women’s Football Championship.”
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