The Dutch Juniors became world champion for the fourth time in history on Tuesday. In the final of the World Cup under 21 in Potchefstroom, the 2022 class won 3-1 against Germany, partly thanks to two hits from Tessa Beetsma.
The disappointment that the tournament was canceled in December. The uncertainty about a new date. The anger about the decision to withdraw the Netherlands. The injury of first corner Mikki Robberts. The ever changeable corona rules. The loss of national coach Erik van Driel.
All those setbacks went into the trash in South Africa on Tuesday afternoon. The World Cup-21 book, which had so many pages before a ball rolled, was given a final chapter.
A golden chapter.
A chapter that was written in a wonderful atmosphere. A packed area of North-West University, with a full orange section. Drums, singing and lots of yelling. In that atmosphere, the Netherlands – just like Germany – started a bit nervous and made a few mistakes. That hesitant start was soon forgotten when Danique van der Veerdonk used the first Dutch corner after seven minutes. It was the first goal of the tournament for the defender of Den Bosch.
While the cardboard championship sign was already being lifted towards the field – a bit early, but oh well – the Orange took control of the game and got some chances every now and then. A Mette Winter backhand, for example, and two corners – shot Fernig, drag Van der Veerdonk – which yielded no result. That was not bad at first, because Germany hardly became dangerous. Orange goalie Sofie ter Kuile, who is still without goals, barely had to act.
After the break, in which the audience was entertained by fifty monkeys who suddenly sprinted behind the goal, Germany immediately asserted itself. The first attack of the second half, over the right side, promptly resulted in the equalizer thanks to a striker from Sophia Schwabe.
The answer from the Netherlands followed quickly, within three minutes. Maria Steensma set fire to the German circle and found Tessa Beetsma, who took care of the 2-1. The Orange seemed to be in serious trouble after four missed corners in a row, when Floor de Haan received a yellow card. Indeed, seemed. Because less than sixty seconds after that print, it was again Beetsma who showed her spitz blood. This time, the HDM attacker poked in a cross from Noor Omrani – of course with the backhand.
In the final phase, Germany tried to fully support the team of national coach Dave Smolenaars. Apart from a wasted corner and some half chances, this did not lead to major problems, also because Ter Kuile was again good at goalkeeping, the Netherlands was calm, calm and did not allow itself to be carried away by the German stress. It led to the last chapter in the bizarre World Cup book by the Dutch Juniors. A book with many plot twists, but more importantly: a golden ending.
Netherlands v Germany 3-1 (1-0)
7. Van der Veerdonk (sc) 1-0
32. Schwabe 1-1
35. Beetsma 2-1
44. Beetsma 3-1