June 1, 2019 / 12:49 PM / 3 months ago

Possible record crowd could boost World Cup-bound Dutch

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Netherlands coach Sarina Wiegman wants her team to use a potentially record-breaking crowd and a tough opponent in their final warm-up match as the right motivation for success at the women’s World Cup.

The Netherlands host Australia at the Philips Stadium in Eindhoven on Saturday in their last warm-up before they head to France to play at the World Cup and are just a few hundred tickets away from setting a new record for attendance at women’s international in the country.

The record is 30,238, set last year when the Dutch beat Northern Ireland 7-0 in a World Cup qualifier at the same stadium and the Dutch football association (KNVB) said on Saturday it expected last-minute ticket sales to exceed that number.

“That’s a lot of spectators and something we are not used to,” said Wiegman. “We’ve got to use it and make a good day of it for us.”

But it could prove tough going for the reigning European champions against a strong Australian side, deliberately chosen to ensure a tough final sparing session.

“They are physically strong and super fit and also very similar in playing style to our first opponents New Zealand although I see Australia as a much stronger team than them and for us a really good last test.”

The international friendly brings to an end a three week training camp in Zeist.

“We trained very hard and seriously. There was also time to relax but even in their free time the players were only talking about football and that must be seen as a positive,” the coach added.

The Dutch, competing in only their second women’s World Cup, start their Group E campaign against the Kiwis in Le Havre on Tuesday, June 11.

They also have Cameroon and Canada in their opening round group.

Reporting by Mark Gleeson; Editing by Toby Chopra

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