It shouldn’t have been for the Red Flames.
The circumstances were good, however: the image of top country Norway was hurt by the European Championship and Den Dreef in Leuven was full with a record number of Belgian fans.
Although without Cayman (out with a strain) and De Caigny (ankle problem), scoring was impossible. Yet they had every right to do so.
Especially in the first half, when the Red Flames were unable to exploit the dominance. Eurling’s shot was blocked, Dhont’s shot missed conviction and Biesmans’ shot went just over the target.
The Norwegian star team had to endure the game and could only be dangerous thanks to mistakes by the Red Flames.
For example, Deloose lost the ball to Maanum on the half hour, who came face to face with Evrard. Evrard still proved that she was in European Championship form and made a good save. Ada Hegerberg was only dangerous with her long shots, although her sights were aimed too high.
Just before the break, neither Minnaert nor Vanhaevermaet could give their teammates the calming lead.
The Belgian women also came out of the dressing rooms the sharpest. They wanted to score so badly that things got a little tougher. For example, Tysiak flirted with her second yellow card.
What the Belgians failed to do, the Norwegians did and again via a mistake by the Flames: Kees passed the ball into Hansen’s feet and the defender blasted the ball hard past a hopeless Evrard.
0-1, a cold shower from which our Belgian women no longer recovered. Although they did try, especially through Eurlings. But her efforts were always reversed.
National coach Serneels completely changed course with three new forces fifteen minutes before the end. A good move, because all three turned out to be dangerous. Wijnants with the cross, Van Kerkhoven with the head and Vanmechelen on the rebound.
Scoring, however, remained the biggest problem. Even just before the end, Van Kerkhoven was unable to get the ball over the goal line. Janssens’ resumption exploded on the crossbar.
Our national soccer women didn’t come any closer to a goal. And if you can’t score, you certainly can’t win.
Norway does and is certain of the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Belgium has to wait and see whether it can have a chance at that coveted World Cup ticket through the jump-offs. One thing is certain: against Armenia next Tuesday it will have to score.