As expected, the Netherlands have sealed their passage into the last 16 of the FIFA Women’s World Cup as they overcame Cameroon’s challenge with a 3-1 victory on Saturday.
Netherlands may not have impressed too much against the African side, but their quality emerged in particular in the second 45 minutes thanks to Vivianne Miedema, who has cemented her status as one of the best Dutch products ever in the history of the game.
The Dutch, led by Euro 2017 winning coach Sarina Wiegman, opened the score through Miedema in their first proper chance but they were stunned by Cameroon as they profited from a backline mistake to restore parity just before half-time.
Nonetheless, an early goal in the second half from Dominique Bloodworth and a Miedema solo effort helped Netherlands seal the deal in front of almost 15,000 Dutch fans who invaded the Valenciennes stadium.
The Dutch will face Canada in the final group game, next Thursday.
Here’s a look at some of the highlights from the fixture between the Netherlands and Cameroon.
What we learned
- Weigman stuck to her guns
Despite failing to produce much of their offensive flowing football against New Zealand, the Netherlands coach Wiegman decided to deploy the same attacking trio for this game formed by Lieke Martens, Miedema and Shanice van de Sanden.
Another win was chalked up but there were still players who failed to shine in this game, including van de Sanden (more on her later on); Danielle van de Donk, who was substituted in the second half; and goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, whose first-half howler enabled Cameroon to equalize.
Arsenal’s van de Donk, one of the stars of the English Women’s Super League, is yet to impose herself in the midfield and against the African side she was struggling to win possession for her side, winning just four of the 10 duels she was involved in.
Meanwhile, the Dutch coach will be concerned with her goalkeeper’s performance, given that in the only situation where she was called into action, she failed to clear the danger putting the Netherlands’ win under threat.
Martens, the Dutch stalwart, has resumed where she left off against New Zealand, stamping her mark on this game with another interesting stat, thanks to Opta.
13 - Lieke Martens completed 13 dribbles this #FIFAWWC (of which 8 vs Cameroon), more than any other player. Skillful. #NED pic.twitter.com/ucvE177JSw— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 15, 2019
- Miedema writes history
On the other hand, there was a spectacular note for the Oranje in this game as prodigy Miedema grabbed a brace to reach the 60-goal mark for her country.
This means that she has now become Dutch women’s national team’s all-time top scorer, at the age of just... 22!
60 - Vivianne Miedema scored her 60th goal for the Netherlands Women's team and is now the all-time top goal scorer of @oranjevrouwen. Legendary. #NED pic.twitter.com/ooT1nWyJUw— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) June 15, 2019
So, what makes this forward soooooo special?
At age 22, here are her stats:
Heerenveen - 74 games, 83 goals.
Bayern Munich - 78 games, 52 goals.
Arsenal - 44 games, 37 goals.
Netherlands - 76 games, 60 goals.
- Van de Sanden yet to light up
An outgoing and charismatic person who lights up fields and locker rooms but who has far struggled to shine in France.
In both games in this World Cup, van de Sanden has been substituted twice and on both occasions she was clearly not happy.
Her performances have not been at the highest level, but it is not her fault entirely. The pacey winger is a player who loves to exploit spaces and take on her markers in one on one duels, but New Zealand and Cameroon opted to play in a more defensive way and this forced the Olympique Lyon player to play in a more static way, which has influenced her style of play. Canada should be wary of her, in case she erupts...
- Lacklustre Enganamouit:
The 27-year-old Cameroon forward Gaelle Enganamouit is one of the stars of this team and after starting on the bench against Canada, she was given the nod against the Dutch.
However, she found it hard battling the Netherlands backline in particular, also due to the fact that Cameroon were often playing long balls to Gabrielle Onguene, rather than to her.
Enganamouit has a very interesting curriculum, having spent most of her career in Europe at the likes of Spartak Subotica, Eskilstuna United, Rosengard, Avaldsnes and Malaga. At the time of writing, though, she is unattached.
As for Cameroon, it is important to note that they are not yet out of the tournament. With four third-place teams advancing, even teams with three or fewer points could make into the next round.