Buidling Dreams Together


England women’s Paris Olympics spot at risk after dramatic loss to Netherlands

The England women’s national team falls short of a win in the final minutes against Netherlands in deep-rooted rivalry match.

The Dutch national side needed a win today in hopes of reaching the UEFA Nations League final and qualifying for the upcoming Olympics, and they took the chances given to them by the Lionesses and pulled ahead for a win.

The anticipation for the second game in the UEFA Nations League was palpable prior to kick-off, with eager fans awaiting the revelation of whether the Lioness and recently-acquired Arsenal forward Alessia Russo would feature in the starting lineup.

After a late arrival to the squad, due to her UEFA Champions League duty with the Gunners, Russo was left out of the Lionesses’ squad for their recent victory against Scotland – receiving extra days off to rest.

England head coach Sarina Wiegman is known for not changing her starting lineup during important matches; however, the tight 2-1 win against Scotland may have convinced her otherwise as she makes several changes, benching Lauren James and Chloe Kelly for Ella Toone and Russo, respectively.

England XI: Earps; Carter, Bright (C), Greenwood; Bronze, Zelem, Stanway, Toone, Daly; Russo, Hemp.

Subs: Hampton, Roebuck, Kelly, James, Morgan, Charles, Coombs, Parker, Park, Le Tissier, Roebuck, Robinson, Staniforth.

Netherlands XI: Van Domselaar; Dijkstra, Roord, Beerensteyn, Spitse (C); Van de Donk, Martens, Groenen; Pelova Janssen, Brugts.

Subs: Lorsheyd, De Jong, Wilms, Auee, Olislagers, Baijings, Jansen, Kalma, Kaptein, Egurrola.

First half

The Dutch came out strong, pressing high with confidence. With a new 3-4-3 formation, the Lionesses had trouble connecting their defence to their midfield and wide players were isolated, being forced inside towards the Netherlands midfield.

Not having many chances in the final third, England were forced to sit back and hold a strong defense in the first half.

Mary Earps – the Golden Glove winner and England’s Women’s Player of the Year – was tested on multiple occasions, shutting down any glimpse of hope that the Dutch had of taking the lead until the 33rd minute of play.

After a turnover by Alex Greenwood, the ball was deflected back into the Lionesses’ 18-yard box to Dutch midfielder Daniëlle Van de Donk. With her back toward the net, Van de Donk laid the ball off to Lieke Martens who drove the ball just over England captain Millie Bright’s head into the upper right corner, finding the back of the net.

While there is no question that the Lionesses were caught out at the back, fans and players of the Lionesses argued whether Martens was offside. What could have easily been overturned had they installed a video assistant referee, allowed the Dutch to take the lead – unfortunately for the Lionesses, UEFA clearly didn’t feel it was necessary to install VAR or find stadiums where it has already been installed.

The clearly offside goal caused England to wake up as they created multiple chances, including a Rachel Daly effort that hit the post in the 40th minute, even after she received a yellow card for a sloppy foul in the defensive half.

Ramping up the intensity, England continued to take shots and find chances, but the Dutch goalkeeper – Daphne Van Domselaar – made sure no shots were going past her with a fantastic double save in the 42nd minute.

Second half

Going into the second half, Lauren Hemp seemed eager to score for England from the start, with two promising opportunities early on; one cleared by Dutch captain Sherida Spitse and the other denied by another remarkable save from Van Domselaar.

Whatever Wiegman told the Lionesses during half-time made an impact as they took control of the game, giving the Dutch only a handful of chances. Most of which were called offside anyway.

In the 63rd minute, the Lionesses equalised with a goal from Russo. 

A play that started with Chloe Kelly – the Euro finals hero who subbed in for Daly at half-time – involved a scrappy sequence leading to Georgia Stanway finding Russo’s feet. Russo chipped it into the same corner Martens had in the first half for the Dutch, leveling the game.

England continued to be dangerous in the final third, creating multiple chances, but were unable to finish. 

On a counter-attack in the 89th minute, the Dutch found a through ball past the defenders to Renate Janssen. 

Janssen was able to find the upper right corner, past Earps, giving the Netherlands the win in a dramatic turn of events.

What was almost a fantastic comeback for England ended in an unusual defeat as the Lionesses panic for a qualifying spot at the Olympics.


The two last faced each other in an international friendly in June, just before the FIFA World Cup.

In a resounding victory on their home turf, England secured a 5-1 triumph, with goals courtesy of Lucy Bronze, Ella Toone, Lauren Hemp, and a double contribution from Beth Mead.

The Lionesses have maintained a strong record against the Dutch; now losing only three of their last 14 encounters.

Wiegman’s homecoming loss causes England to drop to third in their UEFA Nations League group, hoping to change that at the end of October as they become one step closer to not qualifying for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

As England depart with a sense of defeat and shift their focus to the future, this UEFA Nations League fixture holds a deeper meaning for Wiegman. The triumphant manager of the Lionesses started her career as a player and a coach in the Netherlands, having grown up in The Hague, Netherlands.

While this wasn’t Wiegman’s first time coaching the Lionesses as they faced the Dutch, it was her first time coaching them on home soil.

Starting her professional career in the Netherlands, she played for Ter Leede as she pursued her career as a physical education teacher. Throughout this time period, she also represented the Dutch as a defender from 1987 to 2001, receiving 104 caps.

Sarina Wiegman taking on England’s Gillian Coultard during a World Cup qualifier in 1997.

Once retiring as a player, she embarked on a new journey in the realm of coaching, returning to a place steeped in familiarity: Ter Leede. 

11 years later, she seized the opportunity to join the Dutch women’s team as an assistant coach. Her dedication and expertise eventually led to a groundbreaking achievement as she became the first woman to ever become head coach of a Dutch national team.

It didn’t take Wiegman long to lead the Dutch to victory as they received their first UEFA Women’s Euro championship in 2017 and were runners-up at the 2019 FIFA World Cup.

Since then, Wiegman has switched allegiances and led the Lionesses to their own first UEFA Women’s Euro victory in 2022 and second place at the recent 2023 FIFA World Cup.

Credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images

Wiegman’s remarkable success in guiding these teams has garnered widespread recognition, sparking speculation about her future endeavors with rumors that the United States has extended an offer for her to assume the role of head coach, following the dismissal of the underperforming Vlatko Andonofski. Additionally, various men’s national teams have entered the competition in pursuit of securing her talents.

However, the recent UEFA Women’s Coach of the Year has said that she very much enjoys her current position and sees no reason to end her contract early – which isn’t up until 2025. 

As she stays loyal to the Lionesses, she can’t help but continue to root for the team that led her to where she is today. 

In a pre-match press conference on Monday, she stated, “If we are not playing the Netherlands, then of course I want them to do well, but tomorrow we are playing against them and we want to win the game.”

Unfortunately for Wiegman, England were unable to make her wishes come true. 

The Lionesses take a loss on the road and return home to prepare for their last group match against Belgium, who are currently topping the group after their win against Scotland today.

In order to top the group, England must win their next game on October 27th and hope Scotland defeat Netherlands.

The distribution of broadcasting privileges varies by country. Matches featuring England, Wales, and Scotland will be broadcast on both BBC and ITV. A select few matches may also be streamed on UEFA.tv.

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