WEURO2017 Final NED-DEN
Women’s European Football Championships are at final stage. And what a final it will be: hostesses Nederlands against Denmark – both first timers at the final. All the earlier records of spectators and publicity have been broken in this tournament and the future of women’s football looks great – at least everywhere else than in Finland! In Europe all the elite football clubs are starting to play also in women’s leagues and are investing a few million in it. At the same time in Finland our number one sports magazine (Urheilulehti, world’s second oldest sports magazine) has not bothered to cover almost anything of the championship tournament. But on the other hand, Finland didn’t make it to the tournament either. But neither has our men’s team ever. It would be quite impossible to imagine that number 1 sports magazine would not have written articles of men’s tournament.
At the Finnish point of view we have done something terribly wrong during past years because in 2009 home tournament we beat both of tonights finalists (NED-FIN 1-2, FIN-DEN 1-0) and in 2013 in Sweden still played 1-1 draw against Denmark but earlier this year lost in a friendly match 5-0! And we never qualified to this final tournament even though there were 16 teams for the first time – unbelievable. In Finnish football we have a little bit sarcastic slogan ”Eteenpäin on menty!” (We have been progressing!) which we use every time we lose. In women’s football we should be honest and say: We’ve gone backwards!
Picture: MyCoazh paper and pen analyses of FIN games against today’s finalists at WEURO2009 tournament: NED-FIN 1-2 (FIN Team Score 8,3) and FIN-DEN 1-0 (FIN Team Score 7,9)
One could say that 2005 and 2009 tournaments were played by ”the golden generation” of Finland. I don’t quite buy that explanation. Everything in Finland is better at the moment than those days from the football perspective (circumstances, everyday training, coaching, more girl players etc.). Perhaps everything else but the understanding of what international football requires. We seems to think it is all about the speed and physical toughness that the international games require but perhaps the emphasis should be put on game speed (perception, thinking and acting) not running speed. We need players who can read the game themselves and not only react when the coach shouts. Players who can create something from nothing and for the most: players who could do the tricks with one touch. That’s the way to create chances even at the top level. In Finland players who are playing the same way as England’s right wingers Nobbs and Pronze (one touch passes and constant 2 vs. 1 situations) are told that this is not the way to play proper football is at least not at the international level!
Picture: MyCoazh Results page from WEURO2013 FIN-DEN (FIN Team Score 6,9)
Picture: MyCoazh Results page from a friendly match FIN-DEN earlier this year (FIN Team Score 6,5)
But as we’ve seen in this EURO2017 tournament one can play with many different systems (tactics) but in order to succeed team has to have something ”special”. Usually the special is needed in either in the middle field or at front and of course everything starts with the solid defense. Germany, England and France, biggest favourites of the tournament, all were lacking top quality in middle field and are out of the tournament at this stage. Germany, the best coached team of the football world, no mather what the tournament, was a good example of what happens when that ”special” is missing, no Dzsenifer Marozsan was not that in this tournament. First time in over 20 years they are out of the finals.
Picture: MyCoazh Results page from WUERO2017 GER-DEN (GER Team Score 8,2)
Why haven’t we seen as good players as those ”good old” days in Finland? Laura Kalmari is still the all time best Finnish women player and at her best she was one of the best in the world, too. A little bit like Pernilla Harder in Denmark at the moment. Anne Mäkinen played almost at the same level. Now our best players are Tinja-Riikka Korpela, Linda Sällström and Tuija Hyyrynen but they haven’t reached the same level. Korpela perhaps being closest to the top players of the world. The same goes with our men’s national team: we are still waiting for new Litmanen, Hyypiä or Niemi. I do not have the answers. I am just asking questions because I think somebody should. The truth is that our FIFA-rankings are at the lowest level ever.
But back to this day’s final. Nederlands is the favourite but Denmark has already shown that they can make the difference and do not care about who’s the favourite. They won both Norway and Germany and are ready to take the final step, too. In order to do so their key players Pernilla Harder and Nadia Nadim must succeed. In games against Nederlands, Germany and Austria Denmark really struggled first periods but made an astonishing recovery in the second ones. That might be the game plan for today, too. Their defense, especially goalie Stine Lykke Petersen and central defender Simone Boye Sorensen has been great so far. It seems like coach Nils Nielsen has found all the players’ perfect roles and they are really working well as a team. One secret for excellent team spirit is said to be coach Nielsen’s bad jokes, so I feel that we must be soul mates
Picture: DEN-AUT 1-2 (DEN Team Score 8,0)
Nederlands has been the most convincing team so far. They have it all = excellent keeper Sari van Veenendaal, good solid defence, midfield that can both dominate, create chances and make sure opponent can’t counterattack and the most dangerous offense. In attacks they can come from all the sectors: from right with speedy and quite ”manlish” Shanice van de Sanden, from left hand side by highly talented Lieke Martins or from center by all the time dangerous Vivianne Miedema. The most important player of the team is still midfielder Sherida Spitse. And what a home crowd they have had! For the OranjeVrouewen everything has gone smoothly so far. How will they and the crowd react if things won’t go the way they want?
Picture: NED-ENG 3-0 (NED Team Score
MyCoazh Predicts 2-1 win for the NED, but the odds are 55-45 so one must leave to DEN a chance to make the ”Danish Dynamate”- miracle as Danish men’s team did at early 90’s when the players were gathered from their vacations to play when former Jugoslavia collapsed and opened an opportunity for them. Odds turn other way around if the score is 0-0 after the first period.
Let’s enjoy the good game and hopely thrilling final and wish that something will be done differently in the Finnish football in the future. This road gives a final tournament place only by a pity (UEFA Nations League) or by hosting the tournament. We definitely need some changes in Finland!
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This post was written by Juska