Dec 11, 2023 at 4:28 PM Update: 2 minutes ago
National coach Andries Jonker speaks of the worst possible draw for the Orange Women for the final round of the Nations League. The Netherlands was linked to Spain in Nyon, Switzerland. Jonker was not at the draw due to a delayed plane.
“Since I became national coach, this is the third time in a row that we have had the worst possible draw,” Jonker said on Monday during an online press moment from Switzerland. “Spain away is exactly what we didn’t hope for.”
“First we met the United States in the group stage of the World Cup, then England in the group stage of the Nations League and now it is Spain in the final round. It couldn’t be worse. We can conclude that I am not on lottery tickets,” Jonker continued with a smile.
Jonker hoped for France as an opponent in the semi-finals, because as host country that country is already assured of a place at the Olympic Games. A total of two tickets can be distributed in the final round for the Games in Paris.
“France can turn this final round of the Nations League into refined practice matches,” says Jonker. “The French national coach can give the players some rest and try things out. After all, they have already received the Olympic ticket. At home against France was therefore the best scenario. Now we have to beat Spain.”
“If we don’t beat Spain, we have to hope that Germany doesn’t beat France in the other semi-final. Only then do we still have a chance of an Olympic ticket in the bronze final against Germany.”
‘The wound is still big’
The semi-final against reigning world champion Spain is fraught for the Dutch team, because the Southern Europeans were too strong in the quarter-finals of the World Cup last summer (2-1). “The wound is still big, the disappointment is still there,” Jonker said.
“We haven’t talked about that anymore, but now we will have to get over the disappointment. It is an enormous challenge. We have to realize that we were the superior party against Spain in the final phase of the World Cup.”
However, according to Jonker, it is not the case that the loss at the World Cup now provides extra motivation for the Dutch team. “We want to go to the Games, that is our great motivation.”
The Dutch team that lost 2-1 to Spain in the quarter-finals of the World Cup. Photo: Getty Images
Jonker already spoke to the Spanish national coach
Jonker briefly spoke with the new Spanish national coach Montserrat Tomé in Nyon on Wednesday. “She said that the Netherlands is getting better,” Jonker said. “But yes, Spain is still an absolute top country.”
Jonker met Tomé after the draw, which he himself missed. “The plane to Geneva was delayed by three hours. It’s strange that you fly to Switzerland for a draw, but that draw has already taken place by the time you arrive. I was able to conduct some interviews and conversations here, so I I’m in Nyon for a reason. But after landing I heard that we were playing against Spain.”
It is not yet clear where in Spain the Netherlands will play the semi-finals on February 23. The Dutch team will play at home in the final or consolation final, but again it is not yet known in which stadium that will be.