The Dutch goalball team lost its first game at the European Para Championships to France. The team, consisting of Sem de Jong, Marcel van Beijnen, Frank van de Kreeke, Joost van de Kreeke and Jeroen Meiser, went down 1-9, but left the field with their heads held high.
National coach Krista van Alten knows where things went wrong for the Netherlands. “We were full of nerves before this match because we didn’t know very well what to expect. The boys have never been at such a big tournament before. Let alone in their own country and in front of their own crowd.”
Pretty soon France took a 0-2 lead, and then France also converted a penalty: 0-3.”The ambiance on the EPC is great, but the sound in the hall also takes some getting used to. I think that’s one of the reasons why the boys didn’t start sharp. As a result, we weren’t in the right energy mode to attack the balls in the right way.”
The Orange men went into halftime trailing 0-4, but right after that Sem de Jong did something back for the Netherlands through a penalty: 1-4. “France had three big men in goal. We had to get around that and find opportunities with more dynamic moves. It wasn’t sharp enough today.” After the Netherlands’ only goal, France ran up the score further to the final final score: 1-9.
The Netherlands will take on Azerbaijan and Spain in Pool A on Friday. For national coach Krista van Alten the first match against France was an important lesson. “For the next match, we know what awaits us here in Ahoy. We have to play uninhibited and do our own thing. In addition, we must not start putting pressure on ourselves and just grow into the tournament, then great things can be achieved this tournament.”