In his opening gambit, Ives Serneels pays tribute to the fans, over a third of the Stadion De Vijverberg set to be packed with Belgians for their Euro 2017 opener against Denmark on Sunday; the coach speaks of wanting to put on a show for those both in the Netherlands as well as just over the border in Belgium.
Team stalwart, Aline Zeler also spoke of wanting to impress the fans, the team calm coming into the Euros – their first major tournament to date – good communication in the squad lending to a positive atmosphere amongst the team who are ready to cause some upsets in Group A.
A lasting legacy
When asked what his main goals for the tournament were, many could have expected to hear the head coach talk about winning games and claiming scalps to progress in the tournament but for Serneels the picture is a much wider one. Whilst he wants to see his team do well and go as far as they can, the main goal is the impact of what happens in the Netherlands will have in Belgium,
“Our main goal was to have young girls interested and engaged with watching and playing football. We’ve been working on it in the federation and by qualifying and being present at a major tournament the Red Flames are writing history and we knew we could achieve something big.”
He continued, “Now we want to see even more girls involved in football, able to look up to their role-models in the national team and now we will try to show to every Belgian fan here in the stadium, those in front of the television and those who read in the newspaper that we can do something special on the field. If we do well and progress, we win twice and that is absolutely the goal of everyone working in the federation.”