We’re a few days after the conclusion of the EUROs and attention is now turning to domestic football.
But before Women’s Soccer Zone does the same, we asked our writers to pick their favourite moment of EURO 2017.
JJ Duke (Deputy Editor)
Far before the first ball was kicked for this competition, fans and journalists alike made predictions about who would advance out of each group, make it to the semifinals, finals and tournament champions. Naturally, all the traditional favourites were selected.
Austria just forgot to look at the headlines.
That group under Dominik Thalhammer played inspired football for two and a half weeks and reached pinnacles far beyond their wildest imaginations. Everyone believed France would win Group C and Switzerland and Iceland would fight it out for second place. They left everyone in the dust and won the group without losing a match. They negotiated a tricky Spanish side in the quarterfinals and outlasted them in penalties. And if it wasn’t for a couple moments that didn’t go their way in the semifinals, they could have advanced to the Final in their EUROs debut.
But what made this team so special was how much they enjoyed being a part of this tournament and playing for each other. Not to say that you never see teams enjoying tournament experiences, but how they acted with each other on the field was something to cherish.
Nancy Frostick (Writer)
My highlight of the tournament has to be Lieke Martens’ goal in the final because it encapsulated the style and mood of the tournament.
The Netherlands played vibrant, attacking football throughout and had some standout individual performances, both of which really came together in this goal. Both of the nations in the final showed that there is a future for women’s football outside the established order of “top” teams and really brought the game to their opponents.
On an individual note, Martens won UEFA player of the tournament and it is easy to justify. Barcelona must be rubbing their hands together after her performances – her movement to create enough space and rifle her shot in the corner for the goal was sublime. She’ll cause no end of trouble for her opponents in Spain next season and deservedly capped off a brilliant series of performances with a goal in the final.
Jennifer Gordon (Writer)
The highlight of the tournament for me didn’t happen on the field. Seeing the reactions from the general public of the Netherlands, Austria, Denmark, etc. was just fantastic. It’s easy to talk about viewing numbers, crowds sizes and other quantitive measures of fan investment in the women’s game, but those images of men, women, and children in a sea of their respective country’s colours is indelible.
The fanfare the Austria and Denmark team came back to and the Netherlands was showered with after winning showed in a more profound way, the power and the potential of women’s soccer. Don’t tell me people don’t care about women’s soccer, I can plainly show you they do.
— Joost Dijkgraaf (@JoostDijkgraaf) August 6, 2017
Lieke Martens would be my pick for player of the tournament. (I know. How predictable, right?) We knew she was a very good player before this tournament, but she ascended to another level.
Katja Kragelund (Writer)
As a Dane, there was no way this wasn’t going to be about Denmark. Sporting wise, it has been a highlight of mine to watch this team grow every game and thrill the audience time and time again.
Sure, as Nils Nielsen has said, they can play even better than what they have (which has been very good in my opinion), but it was an inspirational to see the team spirit, adaptability and fight throughout the tournament.
This was just, wow! Thanks Denmark for the fantastic welcome yesterday 🇩🇰🙏 pic.twitter.com/6L7KMWX3vQ
— Pernille Harder (@PernilleMHarder) August 8, 2017
Seeing how they adapted to all the injuries they sustained, both before the tournament and during, and seeing new players slotting in and putting a real shift in, was fantastic.
Taking the red and white tinted glasses of for a second, it was another highlight to see how even the playing field has become and that all teams can put up a fight against one another.
Looking at it from a broader perspective, it has been a highlight to see the backing there has been for many of these teams from fans. In Denmark, I have long felt we’ve been a bit behind a lot of other countries when it came to public support of the National Team, but it was quite touching to see the country really rally behind the women during this tournament.
Ann Odong (Writer)
Highlight of the EUROs was seeing the diversity of approach in the way teams undertook the championships. There were the teams that prided themselves on possession football – for good or bad – those that chose to play counter attacking and those that looked to play a mixture of the two.
Also a highlight was the individual players with some excellent technical abilities. The likes of Lieke Martens and Jackie Groenen, but also Barbara Bonansea (ITA), Nadia Nadim and Pernille Harder (DEN) and Fran Kirby (ENG), just to name a few players.
Bea Redondo (Writer)
It might not be the most original answer, but for me the highlight of the tournament has to be Netherlands’ journey. All of it, from that key 1-0 against Norway in the opening game, to the epic final against Denmark, one of the most memorable football matches I’ve ever watched. Just imagining what this has meant for the players and supporters makes me both emotional and envious of their outstanding run in this year’s Euros.
As far as players go, I think the whole of the Netherlands’ final third deserves a big shout out. Miedema, Martens and Van de Sanden were superb and so much fun to watch. It’s really hard to single one out, and I too have been captivated by the Miedema-Martens hype, but if I had had to pick one, I’d go with Shanice van de Sanden.
Jasmina Schweimler (Writer)
My highlight of the EUROs is how many people it connected and attracted. The numbers for TV coverage, attendances etc, were awesome and show how our women’s game keeps growing. I got told so many stories how fans of different countries celebrated together – that’s what it’s all about.
The tournament as a whole was great. There were no easy games, the expected underdogs challenged the expected favourites. France and Germany went out early, while teams like Denmark, Austria and the Netherlands fascinated and inspired the world. The sport itself became much stronger and more competitive. I loved seeing that.
My player of the tournament is Jackie Groenen. I’ve always kept an eye on her in the Frauen Bundesliga and noticed how she kept growing and became stronger at FFC Frankfurt over the last few years – the EUROs took her to a different level and we can look forward to her future.
Kieran Theivam (Editor)
Having had the opportunity to experience the tournament first hand, there are just too many on-field highlights to choose from.
So I’m going to go for an event that occurred in the Denmark press conference ahead of the final in Enschede, when Head Coach Nils Nielsen called out former Holland men’s international Arnold Mühren,
While the Dutch were embracing and celebrating the hosts reaching the final, 1988 EUROs winner Mühren felt it more appropriate to comment on the standard of the women, and how they would struggle against a men’s 5-a-side team.
Nielsen, who wasn’t even prompted by media to discuss the comments, revealed how “angry” he was, and how if people had nothing good to say about women’s football, then they shouldn’t say anything at all.
It was a statement all followers of the women’s game could relate to, and the fact Nielsen used such a stage to talk about respect for women’s football, should be applauded.
For the record, my Player of the Tournament was also Lieke Martens, but an honourable mention for Pernille Harder, who was world class throughout.