The front pages of all the Dutch newspapers turned a bright orange on Monday following the spectacular European title win by the Dutch women’s football team. A record four million people watched the Netherlands beat Denmark 4-2 on Sunday night, with peak moments of 5.5 million tuning in.
According to public broadcaster and number cruncher NOS, of all people watching television that night, some 83% were watching the lionesses win the final and the subsequent prize giving ceremony.
Coach Sarina Wiegman told the paper: ‘the growth of women’s football is fantastic but now we must talk about how we organise it and how to make it about the needs of the children and creating a good situation for boys and girls alike. (..)
‘I’m in favour of mixed sex football for youth players. The danger is that because of a quick growth of the number of players all the girls will be lumped together. I think we should create top programmes for boys and girls together,’ she said.
The tournament will go down in football history, the paper writes and it was a great game because of the space each team gave the other to attack. ‘That is what women’s football has to offer: attractive, open football,’ the paper quotes Wiegman as saying.
Glory, not money
The NRC’s headline is ‘It’s not the money but the glory that matters for Europe’s best female footballers’, highlighting the fact that female football players are a long way from earning the sky high wages their male colleagues are able to negotiate.
‘The sensational victory in a sold out Grolsche Veste stadium will not lead to huge numbers of spectators when SC Heerenveen and VV Alkmaar will be playing the first game of the season,’ the paper said.
‘That would be trading on false hope. The idea that international players can earn pots of money thanks to their achievements in football is likewise an illusion. Hardly any top sports person in the Netherlands does, apart from (male) footballers and some of the best cyclists. The real riches are in the fact that the Dutch women are the best in Europe and may remain so for years to come. It’s the ultimate recognition,’ the paper said.
The Algemeen Dagblad has ex-player Willem van Hanegem commenting that while the women did well he ‘much prefers to watch men play football’.
The hype around the championship has done the team no favours, he says. ‘All those silly stories about how women work much harder than the the millionaires of the real Oranje team. And that there are no problems with hooligans. Those comparisons are beside the point. This sort of nonsense will make you dislike this tournament and that wouldn’t be right.’
The Telegraaf headlines its front page with ‘Golden Girls’ and dedicates pages two and three to the ‘historic victory’ as well. ‘The men did not even manage to qualify,’ the paper states bluntly, referring to the men’s team’s failure to qualify for the competition in 2016. ‘The Oranje lionesses have laid the basis for a golden football future for many girls. They are a source of inspiration.’