Danille van de Donk believes the Netherlands will be underestimated by the USA in Sundays World Cup final and said she is relishing their underdog status
Danille van de Donk believes the Netherlands will be underestimated by the USA in Sundays World Cup final and says she is relishing their underdog status in Lyon.
I think its the best role you can be in, the midfielder said. I dont think they think were that good I think that is going to be an advantage for us.
Van de Donk is one of four Arsenal Womens Super League winners who form the spine of the Netherlands team, with Sari van Veenendaal in goal, Dominique Bloodworth in defence, Van de Donk in the No 10 role and Vivianne Miedema up front. Though Bloodworth and Van Veenendaal left the club this summer, the substitute match-winner against New Zealand, Jill Roord, has been recruited.
The European champions struggled to qualify for this tournament, doing so via the play-offs, but are now in their second consecutive major final, at only their second World Cup. It has been an impressive rise for a nation that established a domestic womens league only in 2007.
We are European champions, not just anyone, Van de Donk said. Im very proud of the team, Im very proud of the Netherlands and I think we came this far as well because we have such amazing support all the time.
Standing in their way are a formidable USA side in a first meeting of the world and European champions in the final. After Alex Morgan sipped tea in celebration of her goal against England, can Van de Donk think of a celebration the USA forward might use against the Netherlands?
I dont think shes going to score against us, she said with a laugh. Were going to prove ourselves and show them what weve got. We might surprise them.
Bloodworth said the Netherlands have shown they can find the extra gear when needed, having played Italy in scorching 3pm heat in Valenciennes and then a sticky 120 minutes in Lyon against Sweden in the semi-final.
The tournament has been long, the season has been long for a lot of players, said the centre-back. You can tell that players are getting tired but at the end its just going to be a mental game and giving it a little extra. I think at the end you could see that we had still a little bit in us to fight to the end and it was enough. So were just going to continue and hopefully we can do something great on Sunday, as well.
She added of the USA: We all know they are very confident but we are also very confident. We havent been playing our best football but have still reached the final, so thats something incredible for our nation.