It always going to be an aggressive duel between the two neighboring countries – after all it was not only a derby but also a decisive match for Belgium for whom only a win left the dream of continuing on in the competition alive.
The Dutch opened the scoring in the first half after Jackie Groenen was fouled gruesomely by Belgian defender Maud Coutereels inside the box and Sharida Shitse converted the penalty with ease.
This however, was preceded by a horrible clash of heads between Maud Coutereels and Anouk Dekker inside the Belgian box in the in the 13th minute.
This resulted in the match being stopped for six minutes while both players were being treated for their injuries on the pitch. Both continued on after some time, both with a bandaged head. However, Belgium’s Coutereels, who was guilty of the foul leading to the penalty had to be substituted in the 46th minute.
At the press conference after the match, Belgian Coach Ives Serneels told the press, “Maud is alright, our team doctor decided that she was okay to play on. The decision to substitute her at the end of the first half was a tactical one and there was no problem with her head injury.”
Concerning Anouk Dekker´s injury, the Dutch coach, Sarina Wiegman said, “Anouk has had some stitches but she could continue to play and she is alright now.”
Nine days into the tournament this seems to become a familiar picture: both in the Switzerland-Austria game and in the heated match between Iceland and Switzerland players suffered head injuries.
In the first match Austrian striker Lisa Makas had to be taken off the pitch after she sustained a cut to the head in the 39th minute. In Switzerland’s next game, keeper Gaelle Thalmann had to have stitches when she suffered a head gash that was the result of a collision between four players.
If the tournament continues at this pace it will be remembered for its potential memory loss rather than for the football that was played.
** AIPS is the international sports journalists’ association with 10,000 members worldwide and which is currently running a Young Reporters project in the Netherlands with the cooperation and support of European federation UEFA. More information at www.AIPSmedia.com