The Dutch entered the game confident of their progress to the knockout phases of the World Cup, though they would be looking to confirm their qualification with a win – knowing that that would see them top the group.
The Vietnamese entered the game having already been eliminated from the competition. The Golden Star Women Warriors have been arguably the worst team of the competition thus far, and the Asian team will look to exit with their dignity intact as they look to avoid the unwanted record of being the second Asian side in the competition’s history to lose all of their group stage matches without scoring a goal. The Vietnamese would know that a herculean effort is required to get anything from the game – let alone a win.
VIE: Thi Kim Thanh Tran, Thi Loan Hoang, Thi Thu Tran, Thi Diem My Le, Thi Thu Thuong Luong, Thi Thu Thao Tran, Thi Thanh Nha Nguyen, Thi Van Duong, Thi Bich Thuy Nguyen, Thi Hai Linh Tran, Hai Yen Pham
NED: van Domselaar, van der Gragt, Janssen, Spitse, Pelova, Roord, Groenen, van de Donk, Brugts, Snoeijs, Martens
It was expected that the Dutch would get on with their business of racking up goals to help them finish top of the group – however, few would have expected the bright start from the Vietnamese that forced a corner in the second minute of the game. This start seemed to catch the Netherlands napping, as a ball played over the top of their defence had Nguyễn bearing down on goal – yet she was unable to control the bounce as the ball was skied over the goal.
Despite this impressive beginning from Vietnam, the Dutch took control of the game as they opened the scoring eight minutes in, with Dominique Janssen playing a speculative pass over the top of the Vietnamese defence to Lieke Martens. Martens controlled the ball magnificently before lobbing the poorly positioned goalkeeper – and this goal would initiate wave after wave of Dutch attacks for the rest of the first half. The Asian side attempted to dig in and resist these attacks, but would always find it difficult against such an impressive Dutch outfit.
The second goal arrived in the 11th minute, with Katja Snoeijs simply passing the ball into the corner of the goal following a lovely reverse pass from Daniëlle van de Donk. The ‘keeper had no chance of making the save, as she was left as a spectator while the ball was rolled to her left-hand side.
The Dutch continued their free scoring form with a third in the 17th minute, as Esmee Brugts scored a magnificent strike from distance, curling it into the corner of the goal. The 20-year-old has been of the subject of interest from many of the top European club sides, and this goal will only have increased this interest.
Janssen continued her impressive performance thus far in the match when she supplied the assist for the fourth goal with an accurate cross to Jill Roord in the box. Roord, who has recently penned a deal with Manchester City, applied the deft touch required to place the ball past the keeper, making that her 23rd international goal for the Netherlands.
Vietnam’s goalkeeper will feel frustrated that her incredible efforts to stop Roord registering her second of the game with a brilliant save resulted in van de Donk slotting home from six yards out, as the ball fell to the Dutch winger. This chance arose from a perfect cross from Brugts – the young player having an incredible first half.
The Vietnamese adopted a low-block in the second half with all eleven players stationed defensively deep in their own half. This invitation of pressure was welcomed by the Dutch as they happily controlled possession and proceedings, though Vietnam would exhaust themselves as they looked to limit space for the Netherlands to create attempts.
However, this tiredness brought about mistakes from the Vietnamese players, and this was witnessed with the sixth Dutch goal. A misplaced pass was pounced upon by Brugts, and she placed her shot from the edge of the box into the far corner of the net, to bag another goal that was a carbon copy of her first in the game.
Martens thought she had scored her second of the game following a pinpoint pass over the top of the Vietnamese defence from Sherida Spitse. The striker placed the ball past the substitute keeper; however, this would not be the seventh goal for the Dutch as it was ruled that Martens was offside from Spitse’s pass.
The seventh goal would come in the 82nd minute of the game, when Roord applied a header to finish from close range after a long ball being sent into the box from a free-kick near the halfway line. Her second goal of the game felt that it was inevitable, as the Manchester City player had the most attempts on the Vietnamese goal.
The Netherlands were never tested, despite their slow start to the game. The Orangeleeuwinnen went about this game in a professional manner, securing the dominant win they required to top the group – while Vietnam will head home suffering the biggest defeat of the tournament so far. The team made history with their first qualification for the competition, but they have been taught a sore lesson while competing in the Group of Death, as they failed to lay a punch on any of their opponents.
The campaign will hopefully inspire the next generation of Vietnamese talent as we look forward to the nation qualifying for future World Cups. The Dutch will now face the runners up of Group G in the Round of 16. This game will take place on August 6 in Sydney, with kick-off at 3am UK time. The Netherlands will surely enter this game full of confidence following their impressive performances so far in the tournament, especially the draw against World Cup favourites, the United States.