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Netherlands turn to Spanish spies for World Cup clash

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WELLINGTON: Netherlands coach Andries Jonker says he "knows everything" about Spain ahead of their Women's World Cup quarterfinal on Friday, thanks in part to former Spanish international Damaris Egurrola.

Egurrola made one appearance for Spain in a friendly and was a regular in their youth teams, but the midfielder now plays for the Netherlands and is in contention to start in Wellington.

Jonker and his coaching staff have also been briefed about what to expect from defender Merel van Dongen, who plays for Atletico Madrid, while Stefanie van der Gragt and Lieke Martens both had spells with Barcelona.

"We know everything about Spain. We have a small book about them," Jonker said on Thursday.

"We spoke with our players, and of course Damaris, who knows a lot about Spain. Our scouting team did its job.

"I think they (Spain) won't surprise us."

The Netherlands reached the quarterfinals by beating South Africa 2-0 in the last 16, while Spain booked their place with a 5-1 thumping of Switzerland.

The Netherlands reached the final four years ago, losing 2-0 to the United States, but a fluid Spain team full of individual quality are slight favourites in Wellington.

"We have all the respect for Spain, for what they have achieved in the past, for the way they play, they way they intend to play," said Jonker, whose side are efficient rather than effervescent.

"But we are not afraid at all. We'll play our own game and it's up to Spain to solve that."

Jonker said his team are coping with a tough travel itinerary having recently flown back and forth between co-hosts New Zealand and Australia.

If they reach the semifinals they will be off to Auckland, against Japan or Sweden, with the final on August 20 in Sydney.

"It's so many airports, so many pitches, so many flights," he said.

"I think we are world champions at flying already," he joked.

"So now the next job is football." — AFP

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