Miedema: Holland are feeling the flow before Sweden showdown
The Dutch have won all of their five matches in France.
Vivianne Miedema feels World Cup semi-finalists Holland have rediscovered the “flow” which saw them crowned European champions.
Sarina Wiegman’s side have eased into the last four in France – they next face Sweden – with a 100 per cent record, despite facing criticism from sections of the Dutch media for some of their performances.
Expectations in Holland were raised by the team’s surprise Euro 2017 triumph on home soil.
Arsenal striker Miedema, who has scored three World Cup goals, believes her team-mates have grown into the tournament and are gathering momentum.
“I think at the Euros, no one expected a lot from us and once we started winning our country stood behind us and we just kind of got in that flow,” the 22-year-old told a press conference ahead of Wednesday’s game.
“And then we came here and everyone in Holland said, ‘Oh, they will be world champions’ and that gave us a lot of pressure.
“I think the first couple of games we didn’t always play the best football but we still got nine points in the group, we’re in the semi-finals right now, so I think you can say we’re back in that flow.”
After topping Group E by beating New Zealand, Cameroon and Canada, Holland overcame Japan and Italy in the knockout stages to reach their first World Cup semi-final.
Head coach Wiegman thinks negative comments about her team stem from their success and the growing interest in the women’s game.
“At the start of the tournament, the players were heavily criticised,” said Wiegman.
“I think that’s part of our lives right now. We need to deal with it and we just need to focus on our game and try to get better every game.
“We are visible and that’s why there is more criticism.
“A lot of attention is paid to our team, and that is very good and positive – that means people take us seriously and we have to perform well.”
Wiegman expects Barcelona forward Lieke Martens, who has been struggling with a toe injury, to be available for the match in Lyon.
Sweden, ranked ninth in the world, are one place below Holland in the FIFA rankings, and Wiegman predicts a tight encounter.
“Sweden is a very strong country, has been a strong team for years,” said the 49-year-old.
“They have played very well in this tournament. However, we have played very well as well.
“This will be an interesting match for both of us because we are facing equal opponents.”