It was another solid win for the Netherlands at the Pinatar Arena when they came up against Russia, although slow to break down their opposition – as in their first game against Romania – the Oranje found the key to the lock in the second-half and cruised to victory. After the game VAVEL spoke to Netherlands and Montpellier midfielder Anouk Dekker about the matches, the upcoming Euros as well as the mood in the MHSC dressing room.
Strong week in Spain
Having conceded a sloppy goal against Romania, Dekker was happy not just with the performances but the clean sheet Loes Guerts kept, “I think we did good, it’s a clean sheet which is always important.”
Opening the scoring at the end of the first-half, the match was at times frustrating for the Holland who had the lion’s share of possession, “We scored first but it took a long time in the game and we have to do better because we had a lot of free kicks and corner kicks so we have to score earlier, if we can do that it makes the game easier for us. We played better in the second-half then you see how we can create chances and take them.”
A natural midfielder, it was a surprise for many who saw Dekker pushed back into the defence, although the rangy star excelled in the role she admits she’d rather have more room to chase around the pitch, “We had some injuries so I found out yesterday. I’ve played it before but it was a long time ago, now I’m a midfielder and that’s where I really like to be so I can run in attack and defence, which is what I love to do because I’m a runner. But I think the whole backline played well today.”
With the Euros looming ever nearer, Dekker is aware that the pressure is going to slowly mount over the next few months but is happy to revel in it, “Now you start to feel it, now it’s this year, it’s just five months away. But for me, it’s good because I like when you can feel a bit of pressure and I like to play big games against top teams and I’m still growing so I’m really looking forward to it. Next up is the Algarve so we’ll get a few good games against Sweden, China and Australia and it will be more good practice for the summer."
MHSC up to second
From Holland to France, Dekker’s Montpellier side pulled off a fine upset at home to PSG earlier this month and the international can’t help but smile as soon as her club team is mentioned, “After the [Christmas] break we knew we had to win and it was the second game after the break too, so we had the full-focus and I keep smiling because it was such an important game and we won. Now we’re second [in the table] but it’s not over, we have to keep the focus not just against Lyon and Juvisy but against everyone.”
Despite some of the disparity in D1F, there are no easy games out there and the players and staff at MHSC know the season is far from over, “Nothing is easy, a game is a game but we did well against PSG. Now we have to come back from our international breaks and it’s always harder but we’ve got a cup game against Toulouse – which we want to win.
"Then time to prepare for Juvisy, then I think it’s Bordeaux before Lyon; so we know the coming four games are so important for us. So we have to keep focused, it’s easy to say but it’s over 90 minutes each game but we know what we have to do. And after next month we’ll see how it is but the spirit in the team is good so we have confidence.”