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Northern Ireland proud of Belgium draw

Published: Thursday 16 February 2012, 9.23CET
"It felt like a victory after the effort we put in," Alexandra Hurst told UEFA.com after Northern Ireland's fine run continued with a 2-2 draw in Belgium, frustrated by twice losing the lead.
by Derek Brookman
from KFC Dessel Stadion

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Match statistics

BelgiumNorthern Ireland

Goals scored2
 
2
Goal attempts9
 
9
Attempts off target8
 
7
Corners8
 
3
Fouls committed7
 
15
Yellow cards0
2
Red cards0
 
0

Standings

Last updated: 27/02/2013 04:24 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   

Matches

Published: Thursday 16 February 2012, 9.23CET

Northern Ireland proud of Belgium draw

"It felt like a victory after the effort we put in," Alexandra Hurst told UEFA.com after Northern Ireland's fine run continued with a 2-2 draw in Belgium, frustrated by twice losing the lead.

Northern Ireland's superb UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying run continued on Wednesday night and Alexandra Hurst praised her side's fighting spirit after they equalised twice to draw 2-2 with Belgium in Dessel.

It seemed second-placed Belgium's three-point advantage over Northern Ireland – who stunned Norway 3-1 in November – would increase when Aline Zeler struck just before the break and then, after substitute Catherine O'Hagan had levelled, Tessa Wullaert restored Belgium's advantage, but with seven minutes left Julie Nelson ensured Alfie Wylie's visitors a point.

"It felt like a victory after the amount of effort we put in," Hurst told UEFA.com. "It was a big knock to go 2-1 down, but we pulled together, really dug deep and got a great result against a team who's higher in the group and higher seeded."

Judging by the whoops of delight emanating from her side as they came down the tunnel, this was definitely a case of gaining a point rather than dropping two. "It's the pride of the Green," the 17-year-old right-back continued. "We've learned to keep fighting to the end, and we've worked on our fitness and condition so we can stir it up a bit with the big teams. We have a strong work ethic and if the ball's there to be won we go in 100%."

Nelson, meanwhile, smiled when asked if her equalising free-kick from out wide on the left was intended as a shot or a cross. "I've always been told that if you aim for the back post it has a chance of curling in, so thankfully for me it worked out that way," she said.

The 26-year-old defender also acknowledged the boisterous Northern Ireland support – a dozen or so diehards who spent most of the match chanting "Alfie Wylie's green-and-white army". Nelson said: "We're very thankful that they travelled here to support us, we could definitely hear them from the pitch."

By contrast, the mood in the Belgian camp was understandably a little less buoyant, yet far from downbeat, as they are now within two points of their next visitors, Group 3 leaders Iceland. "We were ahead twice and gave away a dumb second goal, but on the other hand it was a great match for the spectators – four goals and plenty of action," said striker Zeler. "I'm the oldest player in our team, which is maybe why when I got the chance to break the deadlock I didn't panic."

The 28-year-old was joined on the scoresheet by her side's youngest member, Wullaert. "In the first half we were still getting used to the pitch, we hadn't been able to train on it beforehand," said the 18-year-old attacker. "It was heavy because it had been raining all day. By the end of the first half and thereafter we played much better, which makes it all the more galling that we gave away the second goal so late.

"At that point I thought it was more likely to be 3-1 than 2-2," continued the Dames Zulte Waragem player. "But these things happen, and we still have the belief we can win the group."

Related Items
It felt like a victory after the amount of effort we put in
Alexandra Hurst
By the end of the first half and thereafter we played much better, which makes it all the more galling that we gave away the second goal
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Last updated: 12/11/12 17.59CET

Related information

Player profiles

http://www.uefa.com/womenseuro/matches/season=2013/round=2000256/match=2007822/postmatch/report/index.html#northern+ireland+dig+deep

Lineup

Belgium

Belgium

Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland

1Sofie Van Houtven (GK)1Emma Higgins (GK)
2Julie Gregoire2Alexandra Hurst
3Heleen Jaques (C)3Demi Vance
Yellow Card74
5Lorca van de Putte4Nadene Caldwell
6Niki De Cock5Julie Nelson
Goal83
8Audrey Demoustier6Ashley Hutton (C)
9Janice Cayman7Jessica Stephens
Substitution46
10Aline Zeler
Goal44
8Simone Magill
14Lien Mermans
Substitution89
9Rachel Furness
Yellow Card71
16Tessa Wullaert
Goal53
10Sarah McFadden
18Marlies Verbruggen11Caragh Milligan

Substitutes

12Sabrina Broos (GK)12Krystal Parker (GK)
7Cécile De Gernier13Laura Nicholas
11Davina Philtjens14Kelly Bailie
13Berit Stevens15Aoife Lennon
15Annaelle Wiard
Substitution89
16Alison Smyth
17Stéphanie Van Gils (GK)17Catherine O'Hagan
Substitution46
Goal51
19Stefanie Van Broeck18Nicole Connolly

Coach

Ives Serneels (BEL) Alfie Wylie (NIR)

Referee

Sandra Bastos (POR)

Assistant referees

Berta Tavares (POR), Silvia Domingos (POR)

Fourth official

Sharon Sluyts (BEL)

Legend:

  • GoalsGoals
  • Own goalOwn goal
  • PenaltiesPenalties
  • Missed PenaltiesMissed Penalties
  • reds_cardRed Cards
  • yellow_cardsYellow cards
  • yellow_red_cardsYellow/red card
  • SubstitutionSubstitution

See also

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  • The UEFA word, the UEFA Women's EURO word, the UEFA Women’s EURO logo and trophy are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks.