The Netherlands met Spain in a quarter-final clash, hoping to get one step closer to the prestigious World Cup trophy. Unfortunately for the Dutch Lionesses (Oranje Leeuwinnen), the World Cup aspirations are over following a brutal 2-1 loss to Spain after extra time.
It was clear from the get-go that the Netherlands were in for a long afternoon. Spain’s high-tempo passing and quick movements proved difficult for the Dutch team to deal with. Goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar saved them on a number of occasions from trailing 1-0 as the Netherlands failed to get a grip of the match.
Oranje Leeuwinnen’s striker Lineth Beerensteyn was the only key attacking presence for the team and she came close to scoring numerous times. She thought she’d won a penalty for the Netherlands before the foul was recalled following a check from the Video Assistant Referee (VAR).
A clumsy handball from defender Stefanie van der Gragt would eventually give the Spaniards the lead. The foul from the defender led to a penalty which was converted to put Spain ahead in the 81st minute.
Van der Gragt would quickly bounce back from her mistake, scoring the equalizer in the 91st minute to force the game into extra time.
As the Netherlands looked to be in control of the match during the extended period, a huge missed chance from Beerensteyn led to a Spanish counter-attack. The ball eventually found 19-year-old Salma Paralluelo, who made no mistake in giving Spain a 2-1 lead in the 111th minute in what proved to be the decisive goal.
Captain Sherida Spitse looks forward to the future
Despite the crushing last-minute defeat to Spain, Sneek-born captain Sherida Spitse believes the team is trending in the right direction following a tumultuous period that saw the team struggle following their Euro 2017 triumph.
“I am proud of this tournament,” Spitse told the NOS. “We are back at the top.”
Spitse completed her seventh major tournament for the Oranje Leeuwinnen, and with the Netherlands looking to host the 2027 Women’s World Cup, the 33-year-old Spitse is hoping that this past tournament is a building block for future success as the Netherlands continue on their quest for their first ever World Cup.