Star of 2014: Vivianne Miedema
Monday, 29 December 2014
Still 18 yet already seventh on an all-time scoring table, Vivianne Miedema helped the Netherlands to their first European female title and a debut FIFA Women's World Cup.
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This year Vivianne Miedema moved to seventh in the all-time UEFA rankings for women's national-team competition goalscorers. She is 18.
2014 in short
Miedema has certainly had some year. In July she scored six goals, including a semi-final hat-trick and the only goal of the decider, as the Netherlands won the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship in Norway. It was the first Dutch female international title and Miedema inspired another first four months later as she netted all the Oranje goals in their 3-2 aggregate victory against Italy that earned a maiden FIFA Women's World Cup place for the Netherlands; the teenager equalled the competition qualifying record of 16 strikes.
Her senior club breakthrough came when she was 15 with sc Heerenveen. In her first season she notched ten goals in 17 Eredivisie games and the following term it was 27 in 26, the highest tally in the new cross-border BeNe League. In both those campaigns she also played for the Netherlands in the UEFA European Women's U17 Championship, finding the target on her debut against Denmark and then in 2012/13 managing 18 goals in three qualifying round games. Miedema's career haul of 20 remains a competition record.
Heerenveen were in the top BeNe Division in 2013/14, and Miedema claimed 41 goals in the 26-match season amid a Heerenveen total of 73; that earned her a move to ambitious FC Bayern München for this term. Her senior Netherlands bow came on 26 September 2013; atypically she did not score in the six minutes she had against Albania, but a month later in Portugal, Miedema got a hat-trick in a 7-0 World Cup qualifying win. Another goal followed a few days later against Norway before a November treble versus Greece.
Miedema was to be the spearhead of the Netherlands' WU19 bid in Norway but she was a doubt for the tournament – which began on her 18th birthday. Despite a groin injury, though, Bayern agreed she could travel and after missing the opener she struck twice early in the 3-2 success against Scotland, a hat-trick to beat the Republic of Ireland 4-0 in the semis, then the only goal of the decider against Spain with a cool chip. "They brought me here to score goals and when I don't score I hear about it," said finals' leading scorer Miedema. "I think they're happy with me now."
If Miedema needed four Frauen Bundesliga fixtures to open her Bayern account, she was soon in the goals as the club established themselves as title challengers. Meanwhile, for the Netherlands, yet another treble in a 3-2 defeat of Portugal helped cement a World Cup play-off slot. Here, after failing to register in the semi-final triumph over Scotland, versus higher-ranked Italy the teenager equalised for a 1-1 home draw then fired both in the 2-1 away victory that took the Dutch to a debut World Cup. Her tally of 16 was three clear of anyone else and equalled Adriana Martín's record for European World Cup qualifying.
While 2014 confirmed Miedema's place among the game's most promising strikers, the world stage awaits next year. Even before the World Cup in Canada, where she could face opening-day action against New Zealand, Miedema may be the player to earn Bayern their first German women's title since 1976 (two decades before the Frauen Bundesliga was introduced) or at least a second European campaign. A UEFA Women's Champions League bow in the autumn could leave a still-teenaged Miedema with few worlds left to conquer.