Odds ratio 29-4The Orange Lionesses have miraculously qualified for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. The 19-year-old substitute Esmee Brugts made the liberating 1-0 against Iceland in the 93rd minute in Utrecht tonight with a turning cross.

    By Tim Reedijk

    Pure, pure disbelief. For ninety minutes, Orange had stormed Iceland’s goal. An opportunity ratio of 29-4 (11-1 on goal) and no less than four balls on the crossbar and post. Countless times the Icelandic keeper Sandra Sigurdardóttir (35) kept her team going. The tiny football nation was minutes away from a direct World Cup ticket.

    Until that one moment, when no one expected it anymore, way into stoppage time. Substitute Esmee Brugts (19), the greatest talent of the selection, fumbled the ball over the line, which led to total frenzy in the well-filled Galgenwaard Stadium. A true battle of wear and tear, a shower of opportunities, but in the end enough for a direct World Cup placement.

    For many major European football countries, the last day of the World Cup qualifiers was a must. Sweden, Spain, Denmark, Norway, Germany, France: all qualified for a long time. And what about European champion England, of national coach Sarina Wiegman? That ended the World Cup qualification after yet another stunning victory over Luxembourg (10-0) with ten victories from ten matches and an absurd goal difference of 80-0.

    © ANP

    • Read here the reactions van Jonker, Miedema and Van der Gragt

    Loss of points against Czech Republic

    No, then Orange. That still had to work, in fact, even had to brush away a point compared to leader Iceland, the number fourteen in the FIFA world ranking. All prompted by two points loss against the modest Czech Republic in the World Cup qualifying group. Iceland, it must be said, also did an excellent job in qualifying by beating all their opponents except the Orange. Last year it was 0-2 in Reykjavik. They were the only two goals that Iceland had to concede for the last round of play, in a match in which the Orange had not had it easy.

    That Iceland is difficult to pass, proved once again. The first half was exactly what was expected. The Orange created a chance for a chance and Iceland collapsed far. From time to time, the team of national coach Andries Jonker came up with beautifully played attacks, but eighteen chances in the first company (against one from Iceland) were not enough to pass the Icelandic keeper.

    Pro Shots / Remko Kool

    © Pro Shots / Remko Kool

    Three times against the bar

    It was striking that the Dutch team hit the bar no less than three times in the first 45 minutes, via Stefanie van der Gragt, Renate Jansen and Daniëlle van de Donk. The latter also saw a bet taken off the line – all a few days after she missed imposed chances in the friendly against Scotland and promised to improve for the game against Iceland. The Dutch also kept up the pressure on Iceland in the second half, which of course eagerly collapsed knowing that a point was enough for direct World Cup placement. But a goal never came.

    Jonker pulled out all the jokers, such as Eredivisie top scorer Fenna Kalma who scored against Scotland on Friday. Midfielder Damaris Egurrola also came in. To everyone’s disbelief, she hit the post after three balls hit the crossbar in the first half.

    At the moment when everyone seemed to be giving up hope, there was that one moment of Brugts. After the final whistle, the Icelandic players collapsed en masse. And at Oranje everyone hugged each other, with relief, with joy. After the final was reached in 2019 – incidentally after qualification was only achieved after the play-offs – the Orange squad can make another attempt in Australia and New Zealand next summer.

    Draw on October 22
    The Dutch football players will hear on Saturday 22 October which countries they will meet next year in the group stage of the World Cup. The draw will then take place in the New Zealand city of Auckland. For the first time, a global final round of the football players will be held in two countries: Australia and New Zealand.

    32 countries participate in the ninth edition of the Women’s World Cup, eight more than at the previous World Cup in France in 2019. The tournament starts on July 20, 2023 in Aucklandthe final is on August 20 in Sydney.

    In the draw, the 32 countries are divided into eight groups. The numbers 1 and 2 of each group advance to the knockout phase. The World Cup takes place in ten stadiums in nine different cities. Two stadiums are used in Sydney. The other host cities are Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide in Australia and the New Zealand cities of Auckland, Dunedin, Wellington and Hamilton.

    Ticket sales for the World Cup start more than two weeks before the draw, on Thursday 6 October.





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