Buidling Dreams Together


Olympic Dreams on the Line for England in Must-Win Battle Against Netherlands

The England National Team will go all-in Friday, December 1st, facing the Netherlands at Wembley Stadium for a UEFA Women’s Nations League showdown in front of an expected sell-out crowd. 

Following Belgium’s late 3-2 win against the Lionesses in October, Group A1 has become wide open, putting England in a challenging position, with potential consequences of missing the UEFA Women’s Nations League final and jeopardizing qualification for the Paris 2024 Summer Olympics.

A victory at Wembley is imperative for both teams to remain in the competition. 

As England coach Sarina Wiegman confronts her home country, the non-roster rotation strategy may prove troublesome, especially with England captain Millie Bright withdrawing from the roster last Friday due to a recent knee injury. 

Manchester United players are stepping up to the plate as England goalkeeper and BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year 2023, Mary Earps, will be wearing the armband in place of Bright.

Millie Turner, defender for the Reds, has been called up to replace Bright’s starting back position, but her lack of minutes with the Lionesses may cause issues in the backline – a tactic the Netherlands hopes to play to their advantage.

“We are a team that wants to press; we don’t want to sit back and wait; we want to take initiative,” Jill Roord, the Manchester City and Netherlands attacker, tells Forbes.

Despite concerns, the return of Beth Mead to the squad after her anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury raises hopes for England, aiming for a lead of at least two goals in the match, as a one-goal victory would not be sufficient.

The Netherlands, also blessed by the ACL recovery gods, look to capitalize on Vivianne Miedema, the current record holder for the most goals in Women’s Super League (WSL) and Netherlands’ history, as her intelligence and clinical finishing skills can strengthen their attack.

In their previous encounter in September, the Netherlands controversially defeated the Lionesses 2-1, causing panic among the English as their Olympic hopes began to waver. The Dutch continued their success in October, rising to the top of the group by defeating Scotland 1-0 after a 4-0 victory the week prior.

UTRECHT – Ella Toone of England women during the UEFA Nations League women’s match between the Netherlands and England at Stadion Galgenwaard on September 26, 2023 in Utrecht, Netherlands. ANP | Hollandse Hoogte | Bart Stoutjesdijk (Photo by ANP via Getty Images)

September’s matchup saw 25 total shots between the two sides, truly relying on each goalkeeper.

Dutch goalkeeper Daphne Van Domselaar, a standout player in their last match against the Lionesses, is specifically expected to be tested. With the second-highest goals against in the WSL just eight weeks in (20), England would be silly not to utilize their strong finishers such as Alessia Russo, Rachel Daly, Chloe Kelly, and the returning Mead.

The highly anticipated game promises an intense showdown at Wembley, raising whether England will pull ahead by two goals or if the Oranje will secure a road victory, leaving fans in shock.

As both teams vie for the top spot in the group and Olympic qualification, the potential impact of currently injured and recovered players looms large, possibly influencing the fate of each squad.

The game will be televised live and free to air on ITV4 in the U.K. on Friday, with coverage beginning at 7.45pm. Unfortunately for U.S. viewers, the match will not be streamed.

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