Former Netherlands coach, Vera Pauw, has expressed delight in her country’s qualification for the U-20 Women’s World Cup to be staged in France next year.
The Amsterdam-born football coach, who has also managed three other national teams – Scotland, Russia and South Africa – was speaking to busybuddiesng.com from her base in the Netherlands.
It was at last month’s UEFA Women’s U-19 Championship that the Dutch ensured their debut appearance at the global showpiece, and they did so by making sure of a semi-final berth at the European tournament.
They went on to lose 2-3 in their last four tie against eventual champions Spain, but that counted for little at the end of the day.
“Well, we need to realize that the qualification for the World Cup for U-19 is now because coincidentally this year is connected to qualification for the World Cup. The U-19 have reached the last four of the European Championships already a few times but those were in years there was no qualification connected to it,” began Pauw, who played 89 times for the Netherlands Women’s National Team as a defender.
“But of course it’s fantastic because it will give the players a lot of experience at the top level, playing a tournament. There is no training like playing a tournament at that age level. So I am very excited about that.
Like Pauw pointed out, the Netherlands emerged winners of the 2014 UEFA Women’s U-19 Championship with Vivianne Miedema – one of the stars of this year’s UEFA Women’s EURO – finishing as the highest goal scorer and Most Valuable Player, but there was no World Cup the following year.
In 2015 however, their dream of a World Cup place ended when they failed to qualify for the final tournament. Then in 2016, with no World Cup in sight, they reached another semi-final, before finally booking a maiden ticket this year.
Other European teams that have qualified for the U-20 Women’s World Cup are Spain, Germany, England and hosts France.
New Zealand have also qualified from the Oceania Football Confederation.