After suffering the heartbreak of being beaten in the World Cup final four years ago, Victoria Pelova is hoping the Netherlands can find a way to go one step further this time around.
Victoria was part of the squad that made it all the way to the showpiece event in France back in 2019, and was on the bench during their final defeat to the USA. There is a chance for revenge this time around with both sides being drawn in the same group together, alongside Vietnam and Portugal.
Victoria’s side kick off against the latter on Sunday as they aim to take their first step towards another shot at glory, and given the growth of the women’s game since the last World Cup she feels that should they get all the way to the final game, there will be no stage fright.
“Four years ago we were in the final against the USA and it was a full crowd of 60,000,” she said. “But now playing at the Emirates in front of that kind of crowd feels normal. I’m just excited to see what it's going to be like now!
“Obviously it’s in Australia and New Zealand and it’s a long way to go for our fans, but I think we are still going to feel the support.”
The Netherlands’ chances of success have been made harder without Vivianne Miedema in their ranks following her knee injury last season, one of a number of serious long-term injuries our squad had to cope with.
That helped forge plenty of resilience within our players, and Victoria is hoping that added steel and ability to react to difficult situations will ultimately benefit her going into the tournament.
“I have been at the club since January and even from then I have felt this group is very special,” she added. “We obviously had a lot of injuries in the group and we had to find a way as a team to manage that.
“I think we did that super well, and that strong mentality I will take to the World Cup.”
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