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Journeyman Noppert is excited about the Dutch World Cup dream

Journeyman Noppert is excited about the Dutch World Cup dream

Journeyman Noppert is excited about the Dutch World Cup dream
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  • Two years ago, Dutch goalkeeper Andries Noppert contemplated giving up football because his career was stagnant
  • He is currently prepping for his quarterfinal matchup with Argentina and Lionel Messi

As recently as 2020, Noppert had only made a few professional appearances and was a backup in the Dutch second division. He thought about quitting to join the police.

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He made the decision to persevere with it, and after joining Go Ahead Eagles, his career took off. Later, Louis van Gaal, the Netherlands coach, became interested in him after he moved to Heerenveen.

The 28-year-old, who only made his international debut in the Dutch team’s tournament opener against Senegal, is now the Dutch’s top choice at the World Cup in Qatar.

He will face Argentina in the quarterfinal on Friday, and he seems undaunted by the thought of taking on Messi from the spot.

Noppert remarked on Wednesday, “It depends on the time – he can also miss and we’ve seen it in games in this tournament.

“He is a human, just like the rest of us. He is undoubtedly talented, but I can definitely catch penalties.”

Noppert has participated in every game the Netherlands has played thus far in Qatar, giving up just two goals as they advanced to the quarterfinals.

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At 6 feet 8 inches (203 cm), he is the tallest player in the competition and is praised for his shot-stopping skills and command of his penalty area.

Despite having come so far in such a short period, his inclusion in the team still makes him smile in awe.

He said, “I guess you dream about coming to the World Cup when you are a little man.”

“Yes, I have also daydreamed about it, but as you can see from my job, I have put that ambition to rest as I no longer believe it to be attainable.

But I keep pushing on and fighting because I believe that there is only one coach who can get me here—our coach.

Surprise choice

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Longtime Dutch starter Jasper Cillessen was unexpectedly left out of Van Gaal’s World Cup roster.

Instead, he chose Noppert, Justin Bijlow of Feyenoord, and Remko Pasveer of Ajax—a trio with just eight combined caps prior to the tournament’s start.

When Van Gaal inserted the uncapped Noppert into the starting lineup, he was still anticipated to travel as a backup. Since then, he has not looked back.

Every game is the same for me since I always want to grab the ball in the nets, said Noppert.

“I believe I have the best defence in front of me, so I won’t be concerned about the match we play. We want to take home the trophy.”

Van Gaal receives high praise from Noppert, who claims that he “gives the players on the bench a pleasant feeling.”

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He has spent the majority of his career playing as a backup at clubs like NAC Breda, Foggia, and Dordrecht, so he is familiar with what it’s like to be far from the action.

He is now in the spotlight as the Netherlands attempts to win the World Cup for the first time, and he is handling the situation well.

It’s not pressure for me, he declared. “There is no pressure because we haven’t yet won the World Cup; my only ambition is to win it.

“The most crucial factor is that I don’t have more pressure. In my opinion, no. I’m not feeling it.”

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