Oranje Lionesses one step closer to World Cup with 3-0 Belarus victory
The Oranje Lionesses are one step closer to next year's World Cup after winning against Belarus in an empty Grolsch Veste stadium in Enschede on Tuesday. The Dutch women beat Belarus 3-0 with goals by Jill Rood, Aniek Nouwen, and Lineth Beerensteyn, NU.nl reports
The Netherlands is now in the lead in the qualifying group, getting ahead of Iceland, who still has to play Belarus on September 2. The Netherlands will face Iceland four days later in the final group match.
The Lionesses played Belarus in a somber and somewhat spooky setting, with no spectators in the stadium, no national anthems, and no press conference afterward. The KNVB initially did not want to play the match due to Belarus’ support for Russia in its invasion of Ukraine, but other countries did not follow the boycott. So the Dutch football association decided to play the match in a somber setting to avoid a regulatory defeat.
Lieke Martens thinks Oranje could have played better, she said to NOS after the match. “We can be satisfied with this result, but later at the European Championships, it can be a little better,” she said. “We can do it because this team has a lot of potential. That’s why I have every confidence. We don’t have to be too critical, but we can demand a little more from ourselves.”