Dutch forward says ‘Yes! Bye!’ to United States after World Cup elimination

Netherlands' Lineth Beerensteyn (7) chases the ball during the second half Women's World Cup round of 16 soccer match between the Netherlands and South Africa at the Sydney Football Stadium in Sydney, Australia, Sunday, Aug. 6, 2023. (Rick Rycroft/AP)

WELLINGTON, New Zealand — Netherlands forward Lineth Beerensteyn is happy to admit her first reaction on learning the United States had been knocked out of the Women’s World Cup was “bye!”

It was raw and spontaneous relief, coupled with a little schadenfreude. The joy over someone else’s demise was, perhaps, understandable.

The U.S. and Netherlands played out a tight 1-1 draw during the group stage in Wellington, where the Dutch will meet Spain on Friday in the quarterfinals. The group-stage match was a repeat of the 2019 final, when the United States beat Netherlands 2-0.

Beerensteyn played in that final, which in part may explain her relief that she won’t have to play the United States again at this tournament. The Americans lost in a penalty shootout to Sweden after their round-of-16 game ended in a draw after extra time.

“From the first moment I heard they were out I was just like ‘Yes! Bye!’” Beerensteyn said Thursday. “From the start of the tournament they … were already talking about the final.

“I was thinking, ‘You first have to show it on the pitch before you talk.’”

The Dutch forward said she didn’t mean to be rude in her observations.

“I still have a lot of respect for them but now they’re out of the tournament,” she said. “For me it’s a relief and for them it’s something they will have to take with them in the future.”

Beerensteyn and her Dutch teammates go into the quarterfinal in good form and in good heart.

Apart from the draw with the United States, Netherlands beat Portugal 1-0 and Vietnam 7-0 in group play and South Africa 2-0 in the round of 16.

Friday’s match throws up a thrilling head-to-head contest in midfield between Jill Roorde for Netherlands and Aitana Bonmati for Spain. Both play in central midfield and are goal creators as well as scorers.

Bonmati has contributed three goals and two assists for Spain so far. Roord has four goals, one behind tournament-leading Hinata Miyazawa of Japan. Against South Africa, Roord regained possession eight times and won four tackles in the middle of the field.

Bonmati has stepped up as a leader for Spain as injury continues to curb the influence of Alexia Putellas, the two-time Ballon d’Or winner.

Putellas started two matches in the group stage, playing around an hour both times, and joined Spain’s 5-1 win over Switzerland in the round of 16 from the bench in the 77th minute.

Bonmati said this week a leadership role comes naturally.

“For me, it’s innate,” she said. “I like to communicate, I like to talk and I like to transmit that character to the whole team. When I have the ball, when I don’t have the ball, when things are going badly, I always try to help my team.”

For Netherlands, there’s been a couple of sour notes.

Midfielder Danielle van de Donk will miss the quarterfinal after picking up a second yellow card against South Africa.

“I feel very stupid,” she told Dutch media. “You don’t want to be suspended for the next round and I now have to deal with that personally.”

The match also is played at the most inconvenient time for fans in Europe — the 1 p.m. kick off in New Zealand is 3 a.m. in Netherlands.

“It’s a shame the fans of the countries involved have to watch the game in the middle of the night,” Netherlands coach Andries Jonker said. “But on the other hand it’s the consequence if you organize a tournament in this part of the world and we should take it as it is.

“If you like good football, a fight, tension, then watch it.”

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