Martens Seeks Elusive Women’s World Cup With Netherlands

After winning several trophies at the club and international level, Netherlands winger Lieke Martens seeks the elusive Women’s World Cup on her third attempt as the Dutch gear up for this year’s tournament in Australia and New Zealand.

Martens was part of the Netherlands team that finished runners-up in 2019 as they lost to the United States in the final and the squad in 2015 when the Dutch reached the round of 16 on their World Cup debut.

Martens is a key player of the Netherlands team, and she also has a rich trophy cabinet to boast about.

The winger won the Champions League in 2020-21 and three league titles with Barcelona and also league titles at Standard Liege and her current club Paris St Germain. But the World Cup is the one major title missing from her collection.

Martens said she has her sights on that.

“Yes, you do dream about that,” Martens said, according to an interview with FIFA. “And I think it is very good that you keep trying to make that dream a reality.

“If we were to win, it (her trophy collection) would be complete. I would have won everything that I ever dreamt of winning. It will be a tough challenge, but nothing is impossible. I’m going to give everything I can to be as prepared as I can be. I also trust in this team. I just hope we can get into the flow.”

High Expectations

The Dutch have turned into a global force in women’s soccer only in recent times after they won the Women’s Euros in 2017.

Martens, who was named player of the tournament during their Euro triumph, said the team has learnt to deal with the pressure.

“Suddenly, after the Euro win, people expect a lot from us,” Martens said. “I think we dealt with that well as a team. We have slowly grown into it, and we are still dealing with it.

“People expect us to always be able to battle for the grand prizes, and we have given ourselves that standard. The character in the team is back, and maybe we can achieve something beautiful again at this World Cup.”

Dutch Not Favorites

Despite being runners-up in 2019, the Netherlands are not among the favorites at the July 20-August 20 World Cup. The departure of Sarina Wiegman led to a slump in their form, and they are yet to fully recover from it.

Mark Parsons succeeded Wiegman as the coach, but the Netherlands did not hit their top form under him as they crashed out in the quarter-finals during last year’s Euros.

With new coach Andries Jonker now at the helm, the Netherlands will hope to overcome a tough group phase at the World Cup, where their campaign starts with a match against Portugal before they face defending champions U.S. and then Vietnam.

At the World Cup, the team will be without one of their key players and goal machine, Vivienne Miedema, who is injured, but Martens is confident they still have a balanced squad.

“With the new girls in the team and our experienced players, I think we have a healthy mix. There is a lot of quality in this team. I hope this World Cup can be another very special tournament for us,” she added.