“As defensive champions, we are an outsider in Spain”

The World Cup is about to start with Orange. Journalists Richard van der Maid, John Volkers, and Raymond Koning offer a prediction idea.

Richard van der Madi (NOS Sport)
The Netherlands are defending their world title without massive pressure. Given the recent results and Pullman not matching his physique, expectations are not very high for this tournament. That can be an advantage, as is often shown. There is no doubt that the punishment imposed by France left its mark. How surprised us. If the Netherlands plays Sweden on Tuesday, we will know more about what is real in the World Cup and from there something beautiful could emerge.

The breakup of the Norwegian women last week was somewhat of a shock. The recovery has been good after that, but Norway and France are the main gold candidates in my opinion. I would recommend Norway as the winner. This includes a large group with countries such as Sweden, Russia, Spain and the Netherlands. As a defending champion, we intruder In Spain with a wonderful combination of a lot of experience and exceptional talent.

John Folkers (former Volkskrant, now Handball Magazine Inside)
It seems to me that the top three are France, Norway and Russia. Spain, Sweden, the Netherlands, Croatia, Denmark, Germany and even Hungary are vying for places from four to eight. It’s a pity that the Netherlands were on the heavy side of the tournament. In the quarter-finals, the Olympic finalists may face France and Russia. This is not a pig you can wash.

Tough tournament. The Netherlands is not at its best. They perform best when they reach the first two places of the main stage. Then the barrier falls, I think. I hope my view of the approaching clouds inspires the team.

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Raymond King (Zigo Sports)
Above all, we must not forget that the Dutch national team was incredibly lucky in 2019. Three defeats and you are still the world champion, that is really special. We’ve taken some fame with our 5th place in the Games and 6th place in the European Championships. That EC was a shame, but it didn’t really work there.

In Tokyo I had a good feeling about it, but we managed to get past the quarter-finals. Until then, the match was fine, as well as against the Norwegians. And in fact, the choice is not much different from what it was in 2019: a little more dynamics in the corners, a little more speed, and less cadence. If this breaks “we” then so be it. This is also a sport.

If the Netherlands wins the main match in Sweden’s ‘dark horse’ group and the team with Istafana grows in the tournament, then the quarter-final is the goal and I think the semi-final is the final. If you come in third, you’re doing really well.

Photo: Jaap van der Begel

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