Danielle van de Donk is confident that the Netherlands can shock the United States in Sunday’s Women’s World Cup final.
The Oranje defeated Sweden 1-0 in extra time on Wednesday evening after a gruelling 120 minutes of football.
Now, Van de Donk is excited to assume the underdog role when her side take on the reigning champions the USA, who beat England 2-1 in the last four.
Alex Morgan scored the winning goal in that game, performing a tea-drinking celebration, and when asked if she thinks the American has anything planned for a goal against the Netherlands, Van de Donk was candid in her response.
“I don’t think she’s going to score against us,” the 27-year-old said.
“I think [the underdog role] is the best role you can be in. I like it. I’ve always been the underdog.
“I think I got used to it. I think they… I don’t know the English word, but I don’t think they think we’re that good.”
When asked if she may be looking for the word underestimate, Van de Donk was pleased: “Yes, thanks. I think that is going to be an advantage for us.
“If they do [underestimate us], they do, and we’ll show them wrong.”
Despite winning the 2017 Euros, the Netherlands will go into the final as massive underdogs, given the No. 1 ranking of the USA and their status as world champions.
But the midfielder, who plays her club football for Arsenal, sees no reason to be intimidated by the opponent.
“We’re going to prove ourselves and show them what we’ve got. We might surprise them,” she said.
“I think they have got things to improve as well. We don’t need to look at ourselves all the time.
“We just need to look at our strengths and go from there - don’t want to look at the negatives.
“I think that’s how we approach the game.
“We didn’t really have the easy way as we got here through the play-offs and everything, so it wasn’t like we qualified straight away,” Van de Donk continued.
“We came here the hard way and we proved that we can play football and that we are good and that we are European champions, not just anyone.
“I’m very proud of the team, I’m very proud of the Netherlands and I think we came this far as well because we have such amazing support all the time.
“You are in the final so it’s everything or nothing.
“We’re going to be proud anyway, so we’ll give it our best try and everything we’ve got.
“Whatever the result is going to be, it’s going to be amazing for us.”
As for the potential feeling of being a world champion?
“That’s going to be amazing!” she said.
“That’s my aim. That’s my goal.”
The Netherlands will face the United States in the Women’s World Cup final on Sunday 7 July, with kick-off 16:00 BST at the Stade de Lyon.