Shadow about goodbye duel Leeuwinnen: ‘Courage that Vera came out with this’ | Dutch football

EC starts on WednesdayThe Orange women have won the traditional goodbye game in the run-up to the European Championship 2-0 against Finland. The match was played in a somewhat strange atmosphere, after the shocking revelations of ex-national coach and founder of Dutch women’s football, Vera Pauw, about sexual abuse and a ‘planned humiliation policy’ at the KNVB, which she called. “It’s very brave that she came out with it.”

Tim Reedijk

Latest update:
02-07-22, 22:45

National coach Mark Parsons. © Pro Shots / Remko Kool

It should have been a festive goodbye match for the Orange Women, in a well-filled Grolsch Veste, but the news about former national coach Vera Pauw overshadowed the game. Former FC Utrecht director Piet Buter suspects that Pauw’s report was made against him, but denies all allegations, he told this site.

The contrast was painful: that precisely now the stadium in Enschede had attracted so many spectators and that the Orange Women, often so successful in recent years, are so close to the tournament where they are going for title prolongation. But at the same time also the reports about Pauw, the woman who played such an important role in the development of women’s football in the Netherlands, which undeniably arrived in the dressing room of the Leeuwinnen.


This comes in, especially when it comes to abuse

National coach Mark Parsons

“It is very brave that she has come out with it,” said national coach Mark Parsons. ,,We have had talks with the player group to bring this news to the attention. Players are not robots either. This is coming in, especially when it comes to abuse, which we’ve heard a lot more about in recent years across the sports world. It’s important to stick together, maintain a high standard, communicate clearly and support everyone who needs it.”

Sherida Spitse made her debut under Pauw. ,,I still speak to Vera from time to time and it is very painful that she has experienced this. I never knew anything about it. We talked about it internally, but we were mainly concerned with this match. I always experience a very nice and safe working environment here in Zeist, but I can’t speak for others. What others experience, they have to share with each other or with the KNVB,” said the record international. Captain Sari van Veenendaal: ,,We want to work together to create the safest possible sports climate. If that hasn’t worked in the past, that’s very disappointing.”


The news about Pauw faded into the background after the first whistle. Parsons started with what will probably be his basic line-up at the European Championship, including the again fit Daniëlle van de Donk in midfield, Lynn Wilms as right back and Jill Roord as hanging right winger. Although he also brought in backs Kerstin Casparij and Marisa Olislagers in the break for Wilms and Stefanie van der Gragt.

In the initial phase, the Dutch team struggled against Finland, the number 25 in the FIFA world ranking and also a European Championship participant. Parsons’ team was more dominant, but didn’t create much. A whim of Vivianne Miedema, who set up an action herself and took it out effectively, made the difference before half-time.

Victoria Pelova, who came in for Jill Roord, provided the assist for Vivianne Miedema's 2-0.
Victoria Pelova, who came in for Jill Roord, provided the assist for Vivianne Miedema’s 2-0. © ANP

The all-time top scorer in Orange also struck after the break, with her 94th goal in 111 international matches. On a pass from substitute Victoria Pelova (who came for Roord) she doubled the lead against Finland, which was otherwise impotent at the time.

After the big defeat against England (5-1), the Orange Women recovered somewhat this week with fairly simple victories over Belarus (3-0, last Tuesday in the World Cup qualifiers) and today Finland. Next Saturday, the real work awaits, with the game against Sweden at Bramall Lane in Sheffield, against the losing Olympic finalist and the number two in the world ranking in women’s football. But one thing is certain, until then it will often be about Vera Pauw, inside and outside the KNVB.