Netherlands aims to turn ‘dream a reality’ after 2019 runners-up finish

Lieke Martens said the Netherlands has its sights set on its maiden Women’s World Cup glory as the forward prepares to play for the third time at the showpiece event, which gets underway in Australia and New Zealand next month.

The 30-year-old Paris St Germain player was part of the Dutch side that finished as runners-up after a disappointing penalty shootout loss to the United States.

Martens, who won three successive league titles and the Champions League during her time at Barcelona, helped her county win the European Championship in 2017 — where she was voted the best player at the tournament and also won the UEFA women’s Player of the Year.

“Yes, you do dream about that (winning the World Cup),” Martens told FIFA in an interview. “And I think it is very good that you keep trying to make that dream a reality.

“If we were to win, it 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.”

The expectations on the Dutch team have increased since its Euro win, and Martens said that dealing with the growing pressure has been an adjustment but believes that her side can thrive and embrace the challenge.

The Netherlands is currently ranked ninth in the FIFA rankings.

“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.”

Andries Jonker’s side will kick off its World Cup campaign against Portugal on July 3 before taking on record-four-time winners the United States on July 27.

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