The Netherlands team made history by claiming their maiden Uefa Women’s Euro title and became the fourth nation to emerge as European champions after defeating Denmark 4-2 in a thrilling final on Dutch home soil.
The tournament will also be remembered for the quality football on display and the end of German dominance.
France crashed out in the quarter-finals to England, who were then sent packing in the semi-finals by the eventual winners.
Germany’s exit at the hands (on this case the feet) of Denmark in the quarter-finals saw their 22- year reign as champions come to an end.
The talent on display has never felt closer to mirroring the men’s game at the highest competitive levels as it did during this tournament and in the broader scheme of things the exit of the big guns has proven just how much the game as evolved.
The presence of Denmark and Netherlands in the final showed that there is a future for women’s football nations outside the established order.
The outlay of more energy and resources in women’s football by Uefa with the launch of the ‘Women’s Football Development Programme’ in 2010 looks to be yielding a significant result.
The branding, expansion of the competition, increase in prize monies plus the improved standard of the Uefa Women’s Champions League indicates that women have a lot more to play for.
Examining what the Dutch did right, it began administratively when Coach Arjan van der Laan was replaced with assistant Sarina Wiegman after a poor run of results last November ahead of the finals.
Wiegman recovered the team’s confidence as they won eight games in 11 friendlies, losing narrowly to Japan, France and Australia in the build up to the tournament. Her breakthrough, especially after silencing Mark Sampson’s England in the semis, confirms that women coaches globally are fast dominating and outshining their male counterparts in the women’s game.
On the host’s part, their efforts to take the women’s game seriously has reflected in the nation’s success on the first attempt to stage the tournament. Staging a successful tournament requires significant resources and different dimension of planning driven by worst-case scenarios. No surprise, the Netherlands were fully ready for the showpiece of 16-nation.
Euro 2017 attracted great audiences across various platforms globally and ranked as the most followed in history with the final being watched by an average of 4.1m viewers and more than 13m globally, based on Uefa’s report.
According to Uefa, fan attendance this term hit 240,054 a figure against 2013’s 216,888 – with the Netherlands becoming the first host nation to sell out all their matches, attracting a total of 110,897 crowds.
The incredible atmosphere created by the 28000 Dutch fans in Enschede, along with the travelling Danish fans turned the football showpiece into an unforgettable carnival atmosphere.
On the streets, on TV screens, billboards and even printed materials, the Dutch seized the Euros as the perfect platform to flaunt their solidarity for their women’s national team.
Netherlands goalkeeper Sari Van Veenendaal acknowledged the home crowd’s role en route to claiming the coveted crown.
“When you looked around, everyone was orange and everyone was screaming and supporting us. I’m so happy!”
Chibuogwu Nnadiegbulam, a Nigerian journalist who attended the finals in the Netherlands, said that there is an expanding market in the women’s game in Europe.
“The Uefa Women’s Euro has shown that there is a market for women’s football. For instance, a popular tyre company – through their adverts which showed on the big screen at every match venue – expressed their support for the Germans, describing them as a team with ‘perfect precision’,” Nnadiegbulam said.
“Again, the social media engagement was top notch, delivering prompt reports of the action in pictures, videos, facts, and figures. And making it even more fun with games like the bucket challenge and much more.”
The quality of football, massive following, beautiful branding concepts and huge marketing strategies are great lessons worthy of emulation for other ‘sleeping’ confederations.
Culled from goal.com