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Euro 2017

Mühren’s sexist comments not phasing Dutch ahead of Euro Final

Shanice van de Sanden listens to the cheers of the Dutch fans during EURO 2017. (photo courtesy of UEFA)

Shanice van de Sanden listens to the cheers of the Dutch fans during EURO 2017. (photo courtesy of UEFA)

ENSCHEDE, Netherlands – On the eve of the 2017 European Championship Final a Dutch dinosaur has emerged from his cave to take a swipe at the Netherlands women’s football team. Former Netherlands international Arnold Mühren spoke to the Dutch Telegraaf and offered this unflattering, and completely unnecessary, comparison.

“If you put the Dutch women’s team in front of a five-member [men’s] squad, they would still have big problems,” said Mühren chiefly to Telegraaf about his countrymen’s level.

The former Manchester United midfielder wasn’t finished with his backwards thinking and his set in his ways ideas.

“Men are much faster and stronger than women. Therefore women would not be able to cope with men. Dual strength and running capacity are rooted in men,” said Mühren.

“It’s even more physical with kick and sliding tackles,” he continued. “I would like to see women stand against it. The men are just faster. They also have a different mentality. It says, ‘It’s over my body’ when they’re on the pitch. If women were to compete against male amateurs, they would not win. But they would not lose 20-0.”

Clearly Mühren has not evolved with the times. The Netherlands have been inspired by the women’s football team for three and a half weeks. They’ve played brilliant, exciting football and shown to be the class team of EURO 2017.

It’s unfortunate that past players and legends of the game feel the need to speak out and put down women’s sports. The 66-year-old Mühren has shown that blatant inequality in women’s sports is still alive and unfortunately well.

Netherlands manager Sarina Wiegman wasn’t willing to take the bait when asked.

“Well there’s only one thing I’m focused on right now, and that’s the game tomorrow. Of course when a tournament is getting bigger, more opinions are coming up, but I’m not really busy with reacting on that.”

A sell out crowd of 30,000 spectators is expected to fill FC Twente Stadion on Sunday. The final will be full of enthusiastic ‘Orange’ supporters ready to cheer on the Netherlands. A win would mean the first major tournament championship for a Netherlands team since the men won EURO 1988 in West Germany.

A number of Netherlands players including goalkeeper Sari van Veenendaal used to play for FC Twente. It’s going to be a fantastic experience to step on to the pitch of a venue you’ve grown up playing on with a European Championship title there to win.

“I played here for five years. I know the people here, I know the stadium, I know everything. It feels like home,” Van Veenendaal said. “The crowd’s just amazing, it’s unbelievable.”

Denmark will be the clear underdog against the Netherlands, but they have some optimism they can look at. Denmark played a hard-fought 1-0 Group A loss against Holland July 20 in Rotterdam, and they looked like the better side for large stretches of that match.

It will be a completely different match in Enschede, though. Denmark must stay composed and not get run off the pitch in the first twenty minutes. The Netherlands will want to feed off the crowd and build momentum. An early Denmark goal would be huge.

“I can’t wait to play on Sunday, and I’m so happy,” Dutch midfielder Jackie Groenen said. “Obviously we’ve played them a lot of times before. We know their strengths and they know ours, but I haven’t been thinking about tactics.”

While the entire country gets behind the Netherlands and shows support for what would be a fantastic end to Euro 2017. One lone troll has taken it upon himself to try to pop the excitement, support, and joy the Netherlands women’s football team have brought.

Van Veenendaal isn’t about to let that make her lose focus. Denmark stand in the way of winning a European Championship, and the Arsenal shot-stopper is ready to feel the energy of the fans and everyone who has believed in them along the way.

“We know the whole country is supporting us, and that feeling is amazing,” said Van Veenendaal.

The Netherlands can continue to grow support and write a new chapter in history. Denmark faces a significant task as ‘Orange Fever’ has gripped most of Holland.

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