Andries Jonker called Spain the team to beat at the Women’s World Cup after his Netherlands side lost 2-1 in extra time in their quarter-final on Friday.
Jonker believes his team were robbed of a penalty which was awarded then reversed by VAR, but conceded the Dutch were second best in Wellington.
Beaten finalists four years ago, Jonker said the Netherlands had the potential to at least match that this time, but had landed on the harder side of the draw.
“Spain, my forecast was they’d make the final, and the second candidate might have been us,” the coach said.
“But anyway, you get Spain against you, and on paper, you’ve got a whole plan worked out, but at the end of the day, they’re an excellent team.
“Had we made it, we’d have been convinced to make it through the semi-finals and make it to the final.”
The Dutch players were in tears after the full-time whistle, having conceded the winner in extra time to teenager Salma Paralluelo.
A key moment came in the second half of normal time when referee Stephanie Frappart awarded the Netherlands a penalty after Lineth Beerensteyn was bumped to the ground by Irene Paredes.
VAR suggested Frappart review her decision, and she ruled the contact was insufficient, rescinding both the penalty and the yellow card to the Spanish player.
“The VAR didn’t do their work properly, but Spain deserved to win. It’s just that this decision was wrong,” Jonker said.
Jonker believes his team, which drew 1-1 with holder the United States in the group phase, has made progress since its quarterfinal exit at last year’s European Championship.
“This is a tough one to swallow, but we’ve put ourselves on the map again,” he said.
“But of course what we want is to be the best.”
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