Seventeen minutes later, tens of thousands of Americans looked at each other in disbelief in the stands of Wellington Regional Stadium. For the first time since July 10, 2011 against Brazil, the United States trailed during the World Cup. Suddenly “USA, USA, USA” gave way in the stands to “Holland, Holland, Holland”, sung by more than a thousand Dutch fans.
It was Jill Roward who arranged this rare event. The midfielder, who will play for Manchester City next season, started the game unhappy, but after more than fifteen minutes no one cared anymore. After the United States had chances through Alex Morgan and Savannah Demelo, it was Lieke Martens who cleverly created space and opened up fullback Viktoria Belova. She didn’t do much with the sheer amount of space, but Rohr didn’t hesitate for a moment when the ball arrived at her feet: 1-0 Netherlands.
In the Netherlands, the only sightings of the Dutch Owls are the night owls. The match was played at 3 a.m. Dutch time while the match was broadcast in prime time in the United States. “We play here at one o’clock in the afternoon to show it on TV,” noted national coach Andries Junker.
He was substituted in the first half
However, the early lead for the Netherlands, who last beat the United States in 1996, was little more than a nice push. Then the Americans put full pressure on them. Immediately after the score was 1-0, Van Domselaer tipped a long-range shot from Trinity Rodman – daughter of basketball legend Dennis – wide and then the USA team also became dangerous twice from two corners. Stephanie van der Gragt was injured in one of those corners. The defender, who was working on her final World Cup campaign, appeared to get into so much trouble at half-time that she had to be replaced by Annick Nouwen.
The first Dutch victory since 1996 over the United States did not ultimately come to the Netherlands, who had their hands full, especially with Sophia Smith. However, it was captain Lindsay Horan who eventually scored the American’s equaliser. Three times was a charm and she nodded home from a corner kick.
Juncker tried to restore balance in the final stage by bringing in Damaris Egurrola instead of Katja Snoijs, who replaced the injured Lynette Bernstein, but that did not succeed. Esmee Brugts had a chance to make it 2-1 ten minutes from time. She saw her shot hit an American leg, and then the United States’ final attack began in full force.
Rodman shot wide just before the end, after which Smith saw her effort cleared off the line by Martens and Sherida Spitz was able to clear Alex Morgan’s effort. The Netherlands held off the United States, but after nine games without a win against the four-time world champion, the desired victory was not achieved. It probably doesn’t make much of a difference for a spot in the Final Eight. A draw against Vietnam on Tuesday is enough to book a ticket to Australia.
Tv fanatic. Freelance thinker. Social media enthusiast. Total bacon lover. Communicator.