The Netherlands was the parent against Belgium, but forgot to decide the match – Photo: KNVB Media
The youth World Cup in Costa Rica has barely ended when the new European Championship qualifying cycle is already presenting itself for a new generation of talents of Women under 19. In preparation, the group led by coach Roos Kwakkenbos meets for a week with practice matches against Belgium and Italy. The game against the southern neighbors ends on Saturday in 1-1. With that, Orange did itself short.
Women under 19 is a mix of talents from the year 2004 and 2005. Kwakkenbos had selected twenty players for this first week of training. The selection was still missing six players who were also active in the youth World Cup in Costa Rica. Otherwise we would burden them too much, says Kwakkenbos. “But that gave us as a staff the chance to see other girls at work for a week.”
And she liked what she saw. Especially for a team that is playing together for the first time. “We really just have to win this match. That is the only reproach I can make on the players.” The first ten minutes were messy. Belgium played a slightly different system than we expected and it took us a while to get to grips with that. After that we had them under constant pressure. Also with the goal kicks, Belgium didn’t get a chance to build up calmly.”
A Dutch goal was therefore inevitable on the site of Bregel Sport in Genk. Lena Mahieu sent Fiek Kroese alone to the Belgian goalkeeper with a fine pass. Face to face with Jorijn Covent, the winger remained calm, outplayed Covent and finished with a tight shot. “That was a good example of how our wingers went and used the space behind the Belgian defense. We created many opportunities with withdrawn, unfortunately we were not ruthless enough for the goal.”
And then in the second half that old football wisdom still applies. Where the Netherlands fails to decide the match, Belgium enforces a penalty with opportunistic play, which was impeccably shot in in the 78th minute by captain Marie Detruyer, 1-1. There was no change in that score, after which Belgium also took the penalty kicks better afterwards. Belgium scored a hundred percent against two missed penalties from the Netherlands.
“Still, I am satisfied with this start,” says Kwakkenbos. “I’ve seen a lot of things that we pointed out and practiced in training.” She is looking forward to the match against Italy next Tuesday in Venray. “A completely different football culture. A lot of temperament, but also cleverness with which they take the opponent out of the game. It is good that we practice against that because during the European Championship qualification we play against Turkey and Greece.” The European Championship qualifier takes place in Greece. The third opponent in the group is Sweden.