The first real test against Brazil will follow on Saturday and it will have to be better, especially in the switch to loss of possession and in terms of concentration.
It was also difficult to keep up with the damp weather conditions, because the Games have not really started yet and because of the unorthodox opposition. Every deep pass was a potential goal that’s how chaotic things were at Zambia. Still, quite a few chances were allowed to the opponent who will probably be able to offer more resistance in a decade if more players break through as top-class captain and captain Barbra Banda, who signed for all Zambian goals.
Now she was still in the shadow of Orange strikers Vivianne Miedema and Lieke Martens, who accounted for six of the ten hits, with many thanks to Zambia’s goalkeeper, Hazel Nali.
Zambia 104 in the world ranking
It was already clear beforehand that this first match had little to do with it. Zambia is number 104 in the world ranking, the Netherlands is exactly 100 places higher. It must have felt for the Netherlands like a preparation game against an amateur team that has left the coach and first keeper at home, but that has a guest player from a top club in the striker.
The Zambians, especially before the break, all ran after the ball without a clue. In that respect, it was a shame that midfield conductor Sherida Spitse had to go home due to a knee injury, with her passing she could have split the Zambian defense even further than already happened. With Spitse, the defensive organization of Orange would probably have been better in order. Despite the staggering power difference, Zambia was given plenty of room to break out.
Wrong goalkeeper Van Veenendaal
Due to an error of judgment by goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal, who came out unnecessarily far and then was too passive, Banda signed for her first goal before halftime. At 10-1 she scored twice more, where she showed her class especially in her second goal with a nice passing action and an ingenious last tap from a difficult corner.
It belonged to Banda, she continued to fight tirelessly for her chances, she is fast, technically gifted and goal-oriented. She is the first Zambian professional and is currently making waves in the Chinese league. To play soccer, she used to have to throw her shoes out of her window and secretly pick them up outside, because her parents didn’t think soccer was a sport for girls. Now she is a role model in her home country where women’s football is booming.
And now Brazil
For the Lionesses, the goals against were a blot on an otherwise carefree first appearance and at the same time a warning for the next group match against Brazil, which China demolished by no less than 5-0.
Then more concentration will be required on the ball. Spitse was replaced in midfield by false right winger Jill Roord, which freed up a spot for Shanice van de Sanden in the front right. The fast Van de Sanden was quite sloppy, just like striker Miedema and designer Jackie Groenen, otherwise the score would have been much higher.
Perhaps they were shocked by the seas of space, by the separate choices of the Zambians. Still, the double digits were tapped, with four goals for top scorer Miedema who only played for an hour and increased her total to 77. Especially the first goal was a gift from goalkeeper Nali, who went wrong on many more goals.
Martens, who did play the entire game and prepared several hits, made two. Van de Sande, Roord and substitutes Lineth Beerensteyn and Victoria Pelova completed the ten.