Women's Football

Netherlands & Mark Parsons part company after disappointing Euro 2022

Jamie Spencer
Mark Parsons is no longer Netherlands head coach
Mark Parsons is no longer Netherlands head coach / Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/GettyImages

Netherlands have parted company with head coach Mark Parsons following a disappointing Euro 2022 that saw the 2017 champions knocked out with a whimper in the quarter-finals.

The Oranje Leeuwinnen had to contend with considerable setbacks during the tournament, straightaway losing captain Sari van Veenendaal in the first half of their opening game.

Key players Jackie Groenen and Vivianne Miedema later tested positive for Covid-19, with Miedema admitting afterwards that she played 120 minutes of the quarter-final against France with a high temperature even after testing negative. Injury also ruled out Lieke Martens after the group stage.

The Dutch had shown only flashes of their best and struggled to put together full performances over 90 minutes in any of their group games. It was then only the heroics of emerging goalkeeper Daphne van Domselaar that prevented France from running away with the quarter-final.

KNVB women’s football chief Jan Dirk van der Zee explained that Parsons’ departure was down to sub-par results both before and during Euro 2022.

“In the run-up to and at the European Championship, both the game shown and the results were disappointing and we cannot afford that,” Van der Zee said in a KNVB statement.

“The bar is high. The Netherlands was defending champion and also a finalist at the last World Cup, we want to participate for the prizes. With a view to the current World Cup qualifying series, it has been decided that someone else will be at the helm in the very short term.

“That is not a nice decision, but that is also part of top football.”

The Dutch have had a fairly settled but ageing squad for many years, pre-dating their Euro 2017 triumph, but Van der Zee praised Parsons for integrating young players this summer. In addition to Van Domeslaar, there were opportunities for Damaris Egurrola, Kerstin Casparij, Esmee Brugts, Victoria Pelova, Marisa Olislagers and Romee Leuchter, all aged 22 or younger.

Parsons himself said in a statement posted on social media: “I want you to know that I always worked with one goal in mind and that is to help this team move forward. I truly wish to have achieved better results for you.

“This has been a very challenging 12 months but I remain honoured I have had the chance to work with these players and KNVB.”

The 35-year-old made his name during successful spells with Washington Spirit and Portland Thorns in the NWSL, where he was awarded coach of the year in 2016. He replaced Sarina Wiegman in charge of the Netherlands national team in September 2021.

Netherlands will qualify for the 2023 World Cup if they avoid defeat to Iceland next month.

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