Four days before the crucial World Cup qualifier against Iceland, the Orange women play a friendly against Scotland. After a disappointing European Championship, new national coach Andries Jonker hopes to recover in the Netherlands on Friday, although he insists he is not a magician.
Introducing, coaching, talking, advising and thinking about style of play, lineups and captains. All this in nine days, under high pressure from a crucial World Cup qualifier against Iceland next Tuesday.
Jonker’s job as new national coach with the Orange girls can best be described as a rush job. On Monday, the successor to the sacked Mark Parsons was on the training ground for the first time.
With seven training sessions and one friendly international, Jonger is doing everything he can to get the Orange team in control for the most important tournament in the coming months. A win against Iceland will require direct qualification for next year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Otherwise, the play-off will continue. It would be a blow to the World Cup finalist who lost three years ago.
The first test for Jonker and the Netherlands continues on Friday, with the Orange playing a warm-up game against Scotland in Swollen at 8pm. Despite a disappointing European Championship, in which the reigning champions were spectacularly eliminated in the quarter-finals, Jonker left the old. He chose the same names as Parsons at the European Championships and brought back the retired Shanice van de Santen and Giga van Es.
Jonker mainly did this to play eleven against eleven in training every day. “I don’t have time to set up a long process to figure out what works best. It has to happen now,” he said after his first practice at Zeist on Monday. “That’s why it’s not hard.”
New national coach Andries Jonger brought Shanice van de Santon back into the mix.
Jonker is hoping for new inspiration at Orange
For Jonker, the friendly against Scotland has dominated the game against Iceland. It was not possible to say on Monday who would play and who would wear the captain’s armband. After that, he was not available to the press. Vivianne Miedema, for example, is a question mark that doesn’t quite fit. “But I believe enthusiasm, elan and football will be a precursor to where we want to go,” he added. “But I can’t do magic.”
With his direct approach and clear way of communication, Jonker already made an impression in his first days at Geist. After no match for the talkative and vague Parsons, the players needed clarity. “So, you no longer have question marks, you have to rust before your eyes. Then there is no question: What should I do here, what should I do there?”, Van de Santen said for example.
Jonker’s reluctance to ask anything more about the European Championship has helped the players in recent days. He did not want to talk to the media about the lost match as he did not know the details. Louis van Gaal’s former right-hand man wanted to make a fresh start. “It’s not about what happened, it’s about what I think I should have done.”
Jonger was particularly pleased with the attitude of the players after his first day on the job. “I’m glad they like it, because it confirms that I made the right choice. It doesn’t matter if they think I’m clear.”
Jonker’s arrival has boosted the Orange team’s hopes of a good result against Iceland. It was different at the end of July after the European Championships. “We have a team that can beat Iceland,” Meedema boldly declared. The first definitions of this are visible against Scotland.
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