The Netherlands Junior Women’s team steamroll Zimbabwe to seal a first place finish in Pool A

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Dragflick Newsdesk : Two breaks in play due to stormy weather couldn’t prevent the Zimbabwe team falling before a goal-hungry Dutch team. In a match that saw goals in every quarter, the Dutch beat their own goal record at a Junior World Cup [also against Zimbabwe in 1989] and also saw three different players score hat tricks.

The best efforts of Jenna Mathieson [in the first three quarters] and Lavender Mandoza [in the final quarter] in the Zimbabwe goal couldn’t stop an onslaught that began with Luna Fokke in the third minute and ended 17 goals later, with Mette Winter turning the ball neatly into the goal.

The best goal, in an avalanche of creative goals came from the stick of Maria Steensma. The ball was cleverly flicked high over the onrushing ‘keeper’s head by captain Rosa Fernig and Steensma was on hand to control and steer the ball over the line.

When Zimbabwe did start an attack the Dutch showed they were no slouches in defence either. The speedy Zimbabwe forwards, in particular Tinodiwanashe Elijah, were halted with crushing efficiency by the wall of orange shirts in midfield or defence.

Player of the Match Noor Omrani, who scored a hat trick of beautifully crafted goals, summed up the Dutch attitude towards winning. She said:

‘We said to each other, whatever happens, we need to keep going and keep pushing. Whatever the score is, we needed to keep going.’

For Zimbabwe’s Head Coach Tendayi Maredza, it was a tough day at the office but he was philosophical in defeat:

‘It is never easy and it was a tough lesson for us. I am proud of my girls. We need to keep fighting, learn from this and move forwards.’

His counterpart, the Netherlands Head Coach Dave Smolenaars, said:

‘We wanted to attack the circle and score as many goals as we could. But, our defence also had to stay strong as we didn’t want to concede anything.’

Asked about the successful Dutch press, Smolenaars said:

‘Our press is all about working together as a team and being convinced you can get the ball.’

Maria Steensma also scored three goals, Jip Dicke moved to the top of the goal-scorer’s list with four, there were two goals apiece for Luna Fokke and Josephine Murray and Kiki Rozemeijer and Tessa Beetsma also got onto the score-sheet.

The result means Netherlands will face South Africa in the quarter-finals, while Zimbabwe will be sure of a top 12 finish as pool B was a three-team pool due to the withdrawal of Ukraine.

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