Mexico have never played WCBU before. Now, here in Royan, we get to see them for the first time. After years of building a reputation for themselves on the international scene at U23s and WUGC, it’s fantastic to see them get a Mixed team out to the beach. They haven’t played a warm-up tournament together as a whole squad, although the five European-based players gained some chemistry at Chichis pa la Raza at Fogassa. Unfortunately, it hasn’t been enough so far, as Mexico suffered a sudden death loss against Dominican Republic and a slightly bigger loss against Italy.
Netherlands were looking strong coming into this game. An 11-6 victory against Guam and a fairly respectable 13-7 loss to USA should inform you that they mean business. Netherlands have been slowly climbing the ranks for years (12th in WCBU 2011, 11th in ECBU 2013, 9th in 2015), and have been playing many warm-up tournaments in preparation (Copa Tango, Confederations Cup, etc). This is a team that says they have ambitions of finishing top four. It was time to see them prove it.
Netherlands start the game on offence and score easily. NED 1-0 MEX. Two layout blocks in the next game by co-captain Dan Eppstein and regular player Joram Mossink give Netherlands momentum, as the latter also takes the score. Mexico rally during the next point, and it’s a long one – there are two (minor) Dutch injuries – but Mexico superstar Laura Trolez keeps getting free on high stall-counts, and eventually gets the score. NED 2-1 MEX.
From here on out, Netherlands start to take control. They show that they can bid, box, and work discs all around the field. A particularly nice point sees them isolate 6ft3 Inger Janssen against her unfortunate mark in the endzone. A calm Sanne Leufkins takes her time before finding Tim van Ommen for the easy score, and the half. NED 7-2 MEX.
After half, the story isn’t too different. A huge D from David Sparks and a scoober break for the assist from stat leader Eelke van Foeken are highlights for the Netherlands. Trolez manages to be involved in every other pass for one Mexico score (9-3) and throws a high release backhand assist in another (12-4), but the rest of the team just can’t keep up with a dominant Netherlands side.
Quotes from the sideline
Joost Doesburg (Netherlands coach) – I’m happy with our performance. We had a gameplan, and we stuck to it. Although I felt Mexico gave us the disc a little bit too easily at times.
John Schmit (Mexico coach) – We had a very close physical game, and in the end, we struggled to get open. They were aggressive on D, and it was tough for us to keep up.
Linde Wits (volunteer) – I felt like I got so much energy from the teams. It filled me with happiness. I love beach. Lots of D’s, lots of catches. A tough sport for the Mexicans, but so much energy from both.
Conor Murtagh (volunteer) – It was a pretty physical game. Lots of contact.
John Kofi (WCBU social media guru) – It was a nice game. Netherlands used a scoober, and they won.
By Harry Mason.