Van De Donk: We’re No Longer Fearful Of Something

The Netherlands are preparing for his or her Olympic debut

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Danielle van de Donk talks approximately the crew’s evolution since the France 2019 Final

She says the Dutchare “equipped for the pressure”

Danielle van de Donk is hoping she received’t be playing a fit on her thirtieth birthday this yr. That’s now not because it would spoil any grandiose events she has deliberate, but because the bronze-medal in shape of the Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Tokyo 2020 occurs to land on that day.

Instead, she will be hoping that she and her Netherlands crew-pals are getting ready for a gold-medal in shape. And that’s not an unrealistic expectation for a rustic which can be the UEFA Women’s EURO holders and FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™ finalists. 

FIFA.com caught up with Van de Donk, who these days signed for Lyon after spending six years at Arsenal, to gauge the mood in the Oranje Leeuwinnen camp ahead in their debut at the Olympics.

FIFA.com: How could you describe the Dutch national crew’s evolution for the reason that France 2019 Final?Danielle van de Donk: We have been so proud to be there inside the Final. On the other hand, we knew we needed to get higher if we want to defeat the USA. We need to play towards all the top teams. We performed pretty nicely in opposition to all the international locations after that period. We’ve analysed the entirety sufficient to enhance on each element of our game. We venture each different loads. The predominant factor turned into to get more healthy, and I assume we’ve completed that quite well. We felt like we were so close [to winning], so we want to be willing to take one little step extra.

What do you think is the finest lesson which you learned from that Women’s World Cup which you and the middle of the group might be applying in Tokyo?Not to be afraid of all people or any group. That’s the principle thing, due to the fact we weren’t actually used to gambling against the large names and nations. You appearance up to those human beings and now I desire it’s the opposite manner round; that humans appearance up to us due to the fact we’ve validated ourselves on the remaining couple of tournaments. I became continually a little bit – now not afraid precisely – but it changed into continually in the again of my head that, I’m going up towards Fischer from Sweden as an instance. I don’t have that anymore. I sit up for gambling in opposition to the exceptional gamers because they made me higher. I do genuinely suppose Sarina [Wiegman] created that for us, so I’m without a doubt grateful for her teaching us that. 

How do you observed the team will deal with the stress that includes now being perceived as one of the favourites?I don’t virtually know, but human beings in the Netherlands are usually quite direct. For example, we currently misplaced against Italy. We knew it wasn’t right enough. The media made sure that we knew it wasn’t right enough, so we’re equipped for the strain and the complaint. We all suppose it makes us better, so we’re now not terrified of whatever. We like while human beings are greater direct, so we can examine from it.

Do you notice yourself as a pacesetter at the group now? And in that case, what kind are you?I do see myself as a frontrunner. On the pitch I’m the only who is aware of when the game needs to be a bit more calm, so I try and hold the ball, make the entirety easy and attempt to be very high quality. Otherwise, while we need a bit of feistiness or a tackle then I’ll make sure I do this (laughs). Off the pitch I similar to when a crew’s connecting and every person feels top. They have someone to return to and speak to. I don’t want there to be any bridges among young and old gamers. I need every person to feel valued and as equals.  

Along with yourselves, USA will obviously be considered one of the favourites for gold. How do you defeat them? What will it take?I’d normally go away that to the supervisor! (laughs) You need to be very affected person with them. The US are regarded for being so, so match. They can run for days. When we try to play our positional game and the best football that we are able to play, then I think we are able to beat them. You simply really want to win your battles against them and believe in yourself. 

You seem to be a competitive individual and participant by means of nature. Do you see that as an critical a part of your game?I think all and sundry is at this degree but they’ve exceptional ways of displaying it. I wouldn’t have made it to this degree with out being competitive. I may be pretty emotional and a piece feisty on occasion. 

Is that feistiness some thing you’ve needed to learn to hone in a piece and channel inside the right approaches?I suppose that comes while you become old. I don’t suppose I ever looked at video games and concept, ‘Oh, I crossed the road there’. I like to run out on the principal defender or the goalkeeper, which takes numerous electricity, but I used to not see it as taking a number of energy, but when you grow old you begin realising when it’s needless to move and press. I’ll nonetheless do it, but I’ll realize every now and then you could just get a throw-in from it or something. When you recognize yourself a chunk more you may get your feelings and competitiveness in control. 

In phrases of your Group F combatants in Zambia, Brazil and China PR, what’s your early analysis of each of these teams and matches?They are all such specific sorts of teams and represent exclusive forms of demanding situations. We can prepare for it, that’s a massive component. I simply sit up for them and to displaying that we can fit up in opposition to physical play and ownership-based play. 

You’re going to be an Olympian for the primary time. First of all, how does that sound to you? Crazy, to be fair! It’s very first-class to have to your resume (laughs)! As an athlete, it’s simply terrific. I definitely sit up for it. I continually want to win trophies and tournaments and play in large stadiums, and we simply wish that we can make the Netherlands proud.

What are your reminiscences of the Olympics developing up and who have been some of your Olympic heroes?That’s a hard question, due to the fact after I become more youthful I turned into constantly outside playing soccer. When I turned into inner, I could always have sports on, typically soccer, so I changed into always looking it. I sincerely just like the sprints. I think it’s ridiculous, due to the fact all I can consider is how much they train on simply sprinting. I don’t know how they do it!

Lastly, you were delivered up in the small town of Valkenswaard. How did developing up there assist expand you and make you the participant and man or woman you’re nowadays?Those were the satisfactory instances. I genuinely liked it there and felt virtually liked as well. I became in among two teams all of the time. On one, I become the oldest and the captain. And inside the next year I changed into with the older ones and I changed into simply that little s***, sincerely. But all of them favored me and fixed via me and believed in me, because it changed into pretty unnatural to have a girl in a boys team. Sometimes the opponent could make derogatory remarks approximately it, however the boys on my group might say, ‘Just wait’. After the games they have been pretty respectful and could say, ‘Oh, yeah you’re actually definitely properly and I liked playing against you’. That turned into surely pretty first-class and I knew I had their admire and that changed into the principle factor. 

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