Netherlands are hoping to draw on vast experience in the squad that comes from their achievements at international level in recent years and success that players have enjoyed at club over the last 12 months as the Oranje Leeuwinnen look to retain their crown at Euro 2022.
Having been eliminated in the group stage without a win at Euro 2013 and only qualifying for their first ever World Cup in 2015, the Dutch won Euro 2017 on home soil five years ago, before also reaching the World Cup final in 2019 - narrowly losing to the United States.
A number of players called up for this summer’s tournament have been on that journey, with 11 survivors from the Euro triumph still in the squad now.
Indeed, the likes of Lieke Martens, Danielle van de Donk, Sherida Spitse and Sari van Veenendaal, who were all at Euro 2013, have seen Netherlands grow from outsiders on the international stage into genuine major tournament contenders as one of the best teams in the world.
“[Experience] definitely helps,” defender Dominique Janssen, herself a veteran of four previous tournaments on both continental and global stages, tells 90min.
“In 2019, it was the first tournament for me as a starting player and I know I was a bit more nervous, whereas right now I know what to expect and I’m ready for whatever is coming. The experience makes things easier.”
Netherlands coach Mark Parsons, who is an Englishman but has stepped into international management after a decade in America's NWSL, values that experience. Yet he is also keen to point out the importance of many of his players having a winning record at club level.
The aforementioned Janssen was a domestic double winner in Germany this year alongside teammates Jill Roord and Lynn Wilms. Lieke Martens conquered Spain again with Barcelona, while Aniek Nouwen won a domestic double with Chelsea and Damaris Eggurola won the French title and Champions League with Lyon. Five other members of the squad also won the Eredvisie with Twente.
“I don’t think any [other] team in the tournament has players that won trophies in England, Spain, Germany, France and in Europe,” Parsons explains to 90min.
“I told the team when we came together, there are winners from the Euros, from getting to the World Cup final and then just this year, more than any other team.”
Even though they didn’t collect club trophies, Vivianne Miedema also had another top season with Arsenal, while Lineth Beerensteyn played in the knockout stages of the Champions League with Bayern Munich and Jackie Groenen was with a Manchester United side only fine margins away from breaking up the established WSL top three for the first time since 2014.
“You look through the list and see the quality of clubs that our players are at," Parsons continued. “They’re winning trophies, playing in front of 90,000 at Camp Nou, 50,000 at Wembley, 30,000 at a Conti Cup final. So those experiences absolutely help.”
Netherlands will play their opening game of Euro 2022 against Sweden at Bramall Lane on 9 July.