Nyon (ANP) – Spain is the “difficult draw imaginable” for Dutch footballers in the hunt for an Olympic ticket. National coach Andries Jonker believes the southern Europeans deservedly became world champions in Australia and New Zealand last summer. “They were a great team with great football and great players. But we’ve made some progress now and we’ll see how the cards are now.”
Jonker was late due to a delayed flight to the draw for the final round of the Nations League in Nyon, Switzerland. He then spoke briefly with his Spanish counterpart, Monserrat Dom. “She said we’re getting ‘major,’ too, and getting better. She spoke of us respectfully, but she has a great team at the end of the day.” In the quarter-finals of the last World Cup, the Netherlands lost 2-1 after extra time to the current world No. 2 team.
According to Jonker, the blow of that defeat still reverberates within the Dutch national team. “We were convinced that if we beat Spain we would win the cup. They prevented it. But we have to get over it. We have to realize that we had a tough time in New Zealand, but in the end we were there. Parents, now we have to think about how we are going to make it easier.”
Kiss Rubiales on the mouth
There was unrest in Spain immediately after winning the World Cup when then-president Luis Rubiales kissed player Jenny Hermoso on the mouth without permission during the ceremony. Following this, the much-discussed success coach George Wilda was fired and replaced by Dom. “I haven’t seen them live since the World Cup, but I don’t expect too many changes,” Jonker said of the opponent situation.
To qualify directly for the Olympic Games, the Netherlands must win the semifinals of the Nations League in Spain on February 23. If they lose, there could be a rematch, but that depends on the other semi-final between France and Germany. The Nations League’s No. 3 seed will only advance to the playoffs if France qualify for the finals.
Jonger loved to paint France. The country has already been named host for next summer’s Paris Games. “For France, these are prestigious coaching competitions. The national coach can try things. This means they have a completely different starting point than the other three participants. It’s crooked, unpleasant and not good.” Jonger wanted to finish 6th in the World Germany.
“Introvert. Communicator. Tv fanatic. Typical coffee advocate. Proud music maven. Infuriatingly humble student.”