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Most teams, having played against the previous runners-up in a qualifier and come out with a point having had to save a penalty would be delighted, but Netherlands goalkeeper Loes Geurts felt her side should have got more than their 0-0 draw against England in Zwolle.
The pivotal moment of this UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifier came when Geurts upended Fara Williams in the Netherlands box early in the second half then made amends by blocking the midfielder's spot kick. Her intervention ensured the Oranje stayed two points clear of England in Group 6, but Geurts was frustrated by the result against the side that knocked the Netherlands out in the 2009 semi-finals.
"I think we played very well, it's a shame it was 0-0 and we didn't score as we played maybe better than England," Geurts told UEFA.com, adding about her penalty: "
I made up for my error! I was happy to do that but it's a shame we didn't score at the other end. "
However, the performance in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 8,800 in Zwolle – the Netherlands' best ever for a home Women's EURO qualifier – showed the progress the Netherlands are making. "[England] didn't create a whole lot of chances which is good for us, it means we played well," Telstar keeper Geurts said. "A couple of years ago we [focused] a lot on perfecting our defence. But now our defence is good and we're trying to play with the ball more now. You can see that in our game."
Spearheading the Netherlands' attack was Manon Melis, qualifying joint top scorer with five goals and unfortunate not to take an outright lead on Thursday. "We've played three games [in the group], there's five left but it's a really good start to qualification so we are positive," the FC Malmö striker said. "Our first two games were really good, we had a lot of confidence it feels good now."
Coach Roger Reijners praised Melis: "She has some extra qualities. She is one of the best centre-forwards in Europe, maybe in the world. We are glad she plays for us." Overall, he added: "I think we saw a great game, two great teams. Compliments to my team, I think we played well."
However, they could not break down England, who know a win in the return in June would leave them most likely to secure automatic qualification. Lincoln LFC centre-back Sophie Bradley, at 22 now the regular defensive understudy for injured England captain Faye White, reflected: "
I think it's a good result away from home but we definitely came here for the win.
"It's a bit unfortunate, we gave it our best on the day and came away with the draw, which is good enough. We now need to go to our place and we need to win and we need to win the rest of our games. "
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