Posted: 8/4/2017


             For the Three Lionesses it ended in Enschede at De Grolsch Veste Stadium in Eastern Netherlands where a 27,500 crowd, 26,500 of who were dressed head to foot in oranje- the colours of the Dutch national team.

            Why ORANJE, for a nation that has a red, white and blue flag? Well, the House of Orange- Nassau ( Huis van Oranje Nassau) is a branch of the German House of Nassau, since William I of Orange( also known as "William the Silent"). In fact the tricolour flag used to be orange, white and blue, but the orange dye was a problem and in the sun turned red, so red replaced orange.

          The huge crowd in Enschede Stadium- named so that the commercial brewery was not mentioned, was ANYTHING BUT SILENT.  The Dutch national mens team has played and lost in three FIFA World Cup Finals, in 1974 in Munich, 1978 in Buenos Aires and 2010 in Johannesburg (The Thug Oranje).  The womens team had lost to England in the 2009 UEFA semi-final in Finland, when the Lionesses went on to be thumped 6-2 to perennial winners Germany in Helsinki.

         Back then England were unfit and had dodgy goalkeepers, but things have changed under young Welsh born coach Mark Sampson, who can call on a full team of assistants for fitness, psychology, strength conditioning, diet, wellness and more. The FA puts more money into the women's game £17 million in a year than any other European federation. Sampson is a very good tactician but despite 6 goals without return against the weak Scots in the opening group match, it got tougher and tougher. 2-0 vs Spain, 2-1 v Portugal, 1-0 v France.

         The 16 team tournament was well attended and of high quality, but there have been NO WORLD STARS, like Mia Hamm.Brandi Chastain, Alex Morgan, Abby Wambach, Kristin Lilly, Michelle Akers who have entertained us while winning for USA. Sampson and the English women's game need to produce individual, skillful, match winners to add to his tactical awareness.

         Coming up next month Tuesday 19th September is a home match v Russia, ranked 25th in FIFA rankings, at Tranmere Rovers Prenton Park on Merseyside, where Jodie Taylor started out. This will be the first step on the way to FIFA FRANCE 2019 World Cup, with 24 teams, to be played In Paris, Le Havre, Nice, Montpellier, Rennes, Reims, Grenoble, Montpellier, with the Opening Match and Final at Parc Olympique Lyonnais.  

         Other teams in England's qualifying group include Wales, Kazakhstan, and Bosnia & Herzegovina.  Two years later UEFA Women 2021 will be in an expanded 24 match format hosted by the four British associations to be played in London, Manchester, Glasgow, Belfast, and Cardiff in a number of stadiums.

        After 22 minutes The Dutch took the lead with a splendid headed goal from Vivianne Miedema of Arsenal, but after that England suffered from self-harm.  The 2nd goal was a headed back pass to goalkeeper Siobhan  Chamberlain that went horribly wrong as fellow Gunnar  Danielle van de Donk scored no 2.  A stoppage time own goal from Mille Bright made it 3-0. Netherlands will play Denmark at the same stadium on Sunday with a new name on the trophy after Germany were defeated in the quarter final by The Danes. Austria were defeated in a goalless semi final, missing a penalty in the first half and all three deciding pks after extra time.