Wednesday 01 March 2023, 08:00

Dutch FIFA Women's World Cup hopes central to Paris talks

  • FIFA President Gianni Infantino met KNVB counterpart Just Spee

  • President Spee optimistic about country's chances at upcoming tournament in Australia and New Zealand

  • FIFA Forward initiative also on agenda in French capital

Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) President Just Spee stated his optimism about his country’s FIFA Women's World Cup 2023™ chances when he met FIFA President Gianni Infantino in Paris on Tuesday. Having reached the Round of 16 after qualifying for the first time in their history in 2015 and then finishing runners-up to the USA in France four years later, the Netherlands head to Australia and New Zealand among the tournament favourites.

“I hope we can play a role,” said President Spee at FIFA Paris bureau. “We were runners-up last time. It will be tough to repeat that, especially as we’re in the same group as the number one, the United States. But we’re still number eight in the world, and we aspire to be at least at that level and hopefully higher.” "I followed the Netherlands' progress to the final in France, they played some outstanding football," said President Infantino, who attended the final in Lyon in 2019. "There is little doubt that with the quality of players they have, and with the support of the KNVB, who provide optimal conditions in which for them to work, they will be among the strongest teams at the tournament." Mr. Spee also talked with FIFA President Infantino about the work the KNVB has undertaken to develop football using funds provided by the FIFA Forward programme.

The Dutch team prepared for last year’s UEFA European Futsal Championship on home soil using a court funded by the initiative, and the KNVB have also allocated money to keep them at the cutting edge of the game. “What we value very much in our association is to be on the innovative front of football. So, we have a lot of innovative testing all around the country, be it on sports rules, technical matters or whatever, and we use the money to fuel some of those projects,” said President Spee, who added the KNVB’s relationship with FIFA enabled it to export its wealth of expertise for the good of the game worldwide. “When FIFA was founded in 1904, so almost 120 years ago, we were one of the founding members, and we’re very proud of that, so there’s always been a good relationship with FIFA. So, it is a sort of mutual support, which we also reconfirmed today.

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