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Mark Parsons, Netherlands part ways following disappointing Euros

(Rico Brouwer/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Mark Parsons is no longer manager of the Netherlands women’s national team after the two sides agreed to part ways.

The Dutch Football Association (KNVB) confirmed Parsons’ departure Wednesday in a statement. The news comes after the squad was eliminated in the quarterfinals at the UEFA Women’s Euro in July. The Netherlands had entered the tournament as the defending champion.

According to the KNVB, the two sides came to the joint decision after a review of Parsons’ performance revealed there wasn’t enough confidence in the coach.

“In the run-up to and at the European Championship, both the games shown and the results were disappointing and we cannot afford that,” KNVB board member Jan Dirk van der Zee said. “The bar is high.

“The Netherlands was defending champion and also a finalist at the last World Cup, we want to participate for the prizes… The group came from an incredibly strong period and supplemented with young players, the team had to lay the foundation for new successes. Mark has managed to scout new talents and give them a chance in this interim phase and we are grateful to him for that. We wish him every success in his further career.”

After finishing second in Group C behind Sweden, the team lost to France in the quarterfinals. That game marked the return of star forward Vivianne Miedema, who had been out due to COVID-19 protocol. In a recent column for AD Sport, Miedema detailed how difficult the Euros were for her.

“It was a very difficult European Championship for me. I still haven’t processed everything. My expectations were high, I felt good, but then I got corona,” wrote Miedema, detailing how she laid in bed with a fever for nine days.

“I played 120 minutes against France, I have no idea how I did that,” she continued. “I was going to be substituted, but then we were 1-0 behind and we had to score.”

While recognizing that the tournament was a disappointment for the defending champions, she also highlighted the play of those like Daphne Domselaar, who stepped in when Sari van Veenendaal went down with an injury. The team was also missing Lieke Martens due to injury.

The issues with Parsons, though, seemingly run deeper than the Euros run. When Danielle van de Donk was asked after the Euros loss what she had learned with Parsons at the helm, she said she would “think about that.”

Parsons was announced as the successor to Sarina Wiegman in May 2021 after she departed to manage England. Wiegman led the Lionesses to the Euros title at this year’s tournament. Parsons joined the Netherlands from the NWSL’s Portland Thorns, where he had coached for five years.

He also spent time with the Washington Spirit, D.C. United and Chelsea Reserves.

Parsons released a statement Wednesday saying that it was a “privilege” to coach the Netherlands.

“I want you to know that I always worked with one goal in mind and that is to help this team move forward,” he added. “I truly wish to have achieved better results for you.

“This has been a very challenging 12 months but I remain honored I have had the chance to work with these players and KNVB. I wish you all the best and good luck for September’s qualifier. I will be cheering you all on from afar.”

The Netherlands sits atop Group C in UEFA World Cup qualifying with a two-point lead over Iceland. The two will meet in a match on Sept. 6, and Netherlands could secure a World Cup spot with a win.