Vivianne Miedema is disappointed that some teammates of the Oranjevrouwen went to hug with family members in the stands after the European Championship match against Sweden. A morning after the scene, Jackie Groenen tested positive for the coronavirus.
“As a team, we have a certain responsibility. It is not smart to hug Jan and everyone else after the game,” Miedema said on Monday during a digital press conference. The cuddling has been discussed internally. “It just can’t happen again. We have to be smart. We want to keep the selection together and play a good European Championship. That’s where the focus should be.”
Groenen, Jill Roord and Daniëlle van de Donk, among others, visited their family and acquaintances after the game, which is against the corona rules of UEFA. Bramall Lane seated more than 21,000 spectators. The KNVB said on Sunday that it had “slipped through”. Although Greens did not contract the coronavirus there, other players can become infected.
After the positive corona test of Groenen, the KNVB decided to tighten the reins. Cuddling in the stands is no longer allowed and the interviews with the written press at the players’ hotel are digital for the time being.
According to Miedema, the atmosphere in the group is no different now that the coronavirus has reported itself in the camp of the Oranjevrouwen. “We have been in this corona period for so long and at our clubs it has also happened once that you lose players and staff members. As weird as it sounds, you get used to it. But if it is there, it is extremely baling. You have to deal with it as well and relaxed as possible.”
‘Dropping out Sari is superbalen’
The Oranjevrouwen had to deal with a new blow on Monday with the loss of captain Sari van Veenendaal. The goalkeeper appears to have suffered a shoulder injury and will no longer be in action at the European Championships. In addition, Aniek Nouwen is temporarily out with an ankle injury.
“It’s great for us that Sari can’t continue, as a player and as a person off the field,” said Miedema. “Sari has been our number one for the past five or six years. She has shown time and time again that she is the best goalkeeper. She is someone who can bring a team together very well and can motivate the team very well at the right time. We’re going to miss that now.”
Miedema will now wear the captain’s armband, which she did on Saturday against Sweden after the loss of Van Veenendaal. The star player has been appointed reserve captain by national coach Mark Parsons just before the European Championship.
The Netherlands will play the second group game at the European Championships on Wednesday in Leigh. Then Portugal is the opponent. On Sunday, the defending champion closes the group stage with a duel with Switzerland. The group winner and the number two of the group qualify for the quarter-finals.
European Championship program Oranjevrouwen
- Netherlands-Sweden 1-1
- July 13 in Leigh: Netherlands-Portugal (9 p.m.)
- July 17 in Sheffield: Switzerland-Netherlands (6 p.m.)
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