It was harder to ask for a better opening match for the hosts at Euro 2017, Shanice van de Sanden’s second-half header the difference in a packed Glagenwaard Stadion, the home fans spurring their team on every inch of the way.
Although they could have found the back of the net more than once the Dutch dominated their opposition, relentlessly attacking a scraggly Norway side and player of the match, Lieke Martens was pleased with her team’s performance.
“We fought for each other out there and worked really well together,” she continued, “I don’t think they created many chances so I think we played well. The only think we can do better is score goals.”
Could it have been different?
With a number of chances throughout, the attacker remained a handful, pulling the save of the match out of Ingrid Hjelmseth inside of the first minute but whilst a live-wire the young attacker failed to find the back of the net. And Martens admits that there is no frustration for her not to scored, though laughs as she says, if it had been 0-0 it would be quite a different story,
“It’s fine, it’s really good that we won but if we didn’t win I’d be very frustrated.”
After a sterling 90 minutes the Dutch aren’t willing to get ahead of themselves rather taking it one match at a time, keen to show off their ability to their noisy fans,
“I think it was an important game but the next two games are still important to show Holland and everyone that they’re going to love women’s football so I think this is a good start for us.”
With the stadium rocking Martens nods along when asked if she could feel the atmosphere, the wall of noise when van de Sanden scored not something you heard outside of major tournaments in women’s football,
“They gave us a lot of energy so that’s really nice.”
Possibly the most inform played at the tournament, Martens has been lighting up the Damallsvenskan this year for Rosengård (a side she’s just left to join Spanish giants, Barcelona). The first-half of the Swedish season a perfect warm-up for the Euros,
“I think I’ve been improving, I’ve been practicing with a lot of good players and I think the level was really high so it’s really nice to come here with confidence,” she continued on, praising the level of her Dutch teammates, “and I think the whole team has confidence and we showed it here on the pitch.”