The Women’s Euro 2017 draw has thrown up some interesting ties, and Tessel Middag cannot wait to see how they unfold.
With the competition taking place in her homeland, the Dutch midfielder already has reason to be excited – and Tuesday’s news has heightened the anticipation.
While the Netherlands have been grouped with Norway, Belgium and Denmark, there could be ten City representatives in Group D as England and Scotland are set to face off. Kosovare Asllani’s Sweden will play the holders Germany, Italy and Russia.
Middag told ManCity.com: “Ours is quite a tough draw. We could have had easier opponents perhaps on paper, although you never know how things will turn out in a match.
“Norway are especially tough – we’ve played them a lot in qualification rounds and at the Euros in 2013. We lost against them so hopefully, we can win this one. It’s our opening match as well.
“Belgium are our neighbours so there’s always a bit of rivalry there and we play them in a camp in the same city where we will play them during the Euros. That’s good preparation. They have really grown over the years and they’re making their debut.
“I don’t know too much about Denmark so I’m glad City are playing Brondby in the Champions League so I can learn about the players!
“I’m very much looking forward to the competition, especially since it’s in my own country. We are going for gold and we would much like to win a medal. It’s going to be tough but the first step is to progress from the group stage and then maybe I will meet some teammates in the rounds after!”
On the subject of teammates meeting, England’s match-up with Scotland has been the main talking point in Manchester, as Middag explained.
“We have a group chat and the girls were immediately pointing at that match,” she revealed. “It’s the opening match in their group and for Jen [Beattie] and Jane [Ross] to meet eight teammates is a great opportunity for them.
“They know each other very well and it’s a great match for both countries. I’m very curious about the result.”
Asked who she felt are the teams to watch, she continued: “Germany are a very strong opponent. We played a friendly against them a few weeks ago and they beat us 4-2. They are the reigning Euro and Olympic champions so they will be the favourites for the title.
“England are also very strong – of course they came third at the World Cup – and Sweden always do well at tournaments. There are quite a few countries that could win it. Hopefully, we as the host nation are the dark horse and can use our home advantage. The crowds will be behind us with a wall of orange which will hopefully give us a boost.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to let people in the country know we can play good football and be successful. Women’s football is growing but it could be bigger – there could be more people going to matches; more sponsors investing money. There is still a lot to win for us and big tournaments bring attention to make a step forward.”