- Netherlands midfielder says she is proud despite Women’s World Cup defeat
- She went off social media during tournament to stay focused
- The Arsenal star puts the team's success into perspective
Danielle van de Donk said she was “proud of her team” despite the Netherlands' 2-0 defeat by USA in the FIFA Women’s World Cup™ Final. The midfielder played the full 90 minutes for the Oranjeleeuwinnen, but was unable to prevent the Stars and Stripes from winning the competition for the second time in a row and fourth overall.
If the Netherlands had emerged triumphant, they would have been only the second nation to be both world and european champions. However, despite the defeat, football in the Netherlands is thriving, with TV audience records being smashed during the tournament in France, while supporters at every game painted the town orange during their fan walks to the stadiums.
This, along with the team’s progress, has not gone unnoticed by the Dutch midfielder.
"The growth [of women’s football in the Netherlands] is ridiculous," said Van de Donk. "If I look at women’s football and the hype, it’s amazing. I think that’s what I’m most proud of, that we got so much respect from the Netherlands."
But ask Van de Donk about the scenes back home and the fan walks in France, and she is almost oblivious – not because she doesn’t care, but because she doesn’t know. That’s because, like many players, she shut herself away from social media during the tournament, to focus fully on the Netherlands’ journey to the Final.
“I closed myself from everything - I’m not on social media," Van de Donk said. "Maybe it’s a different story for other people, I am choosing not to know. But I hear from my parents and they say the whole of the Netherlands is proud."
The focus now for Van de Donk and her team-mates will be qualification for the UEFA Women's EURO in 2021, which will see them in the position USA were in for the Women's World Cup, going into the tournament as defending champions. While happy with the growth of the game in the Netherlands, the Arsenal midfielder said it is on the players to ensure they are delivering trophies and winning medals to match the support they are receiving from the Dutch public and make them proud.
"We have to do the job: we have to get to the finals and win prizes and medals, and that’s what we do," she said. "But I’m proud of the team and I am proud of the Netherlands."