Home football competition is intensifying, headache in sight for Ives Serneels?

competition is intensifying, headache in sight for Ives Serneels?

by archysport

A month ago, there was the fall (the heavy 4-0 defeat in Norway) and the forced landing after the two great home victories (twice 7-0 against Albania and then against Kosovo). But no time to procrastinate, here are already two matches to get up. Two matches which are announced, on paper, very different. Armenia the smallest of the group, then Poland the opponent to absolutely leave behind in the standings to keep a hope of qualifying for the next World Cup. “I didn’t need to talk about an objective”, explains the coach Ives Serneels. “From the first practice of the week, the players told me: ‘OK coach, we want to win twice’. It’s very clear in their head “.

And if he candidly explains not having paid much attention to the ranking, the coach also knows his mission. He took advantage of the four weeks since Oslo to discuss individually with his players, to make them grow and not keep the taste for Norwegian failure. And to discuss with his entire group, he must now multiply contacts! The return of Laura De Neve (captain of Anderlecht, elected Super League player of the year last season), who had missed the entire start of the campaign due to injury, intensifies the competition even more.

Increasingly fierce competition

What to rejoice a coach who can make his choices. “I hope it motivates the players even more. And let’s not forget that there are still other injured people who could also come back to the squad”, says the former Lierse player. One thinks in particular of Elena Dhont (seriously injured in the knee almost a year ago with her club Twente in the Netherlands) or in Anderlechtoises Ella Van Kerkhoven (ruptured knee ligaments in May while still playing in Ghent and facing… Anderlecht) and Kassandra Missipo (she also seriously injured the cruciate ligaments of the knee during this shock Anderlecht-Ghent in May, and currently without a club) …

In the absence of these players, the young people received their chance and gained confidence. We cannot quote everyone, but between the Louvaniste Amber Tysiak, 21 years old, a real comet (8 tenures in 10 matches since his first selection in… last February!) Who currently seems unstoppable in central defense, Jarne Teulings, 19 years old, the little nugget of Twente who has received the confidence of the coach over the last three matches (three times holders) after an interesting rise in Poland, or for example Sarah Wijnants, 22 years old, whose complementarity with Tessa Wullaert (they are teammates at Anderlecht) gets better from match to match, it makes people fit into an eleven … or even a selection of 23!

The Euro in the crosshairs too

And yet, Ives Serneels will have to clear his mind “quickly”. In July, the Red Flames will play their second consecutive Euro. “A dream to be able to be there”, confides Wijnants, last reservist dismissed during the 2017 tournament, “But the main thing for the moment is first of all the team. If I play, I give everything. And if I don’t start, I also give everything as soon as I have the opportunity to go up”.

The competition within the group seems healthy, between women and young people with long teeth. The match in Norway made it possible to measure the gap that still exists between top teams, made up of professional players, and Belgium where the majority of players are not really. The gap is still significant, there is still work to be done. But matches like the one against Armenia allow all these little people to gain confidence and refine their automatisms. And to Ives Serneels to take notes. He is also impatiently waiting to see Laura De Neve in the red jersey again. Even if it may give him a headache in a few months when it comes time to bed his final selection for Euro 2022 …

In the meantime, the famous footballing tune of “we take match by match” is running at full speed in the Flames group. No question for them to already project themselves against Iceland, France and Italy (the opponents of Belgium in the first round of the Euro), or even to mention Poland. The priority is to beat Armenia on Tuesday. “We will win”, slide Sarah Wijnants in a smile. Motivation and ambition: the defeat in Norway is not forgotten, but the Flames want to continue building, all together.

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