As substitutions go, it will take something extraordinary to match the impact the Netherlands' Lieke Martens had against France in the Jong Oranje's UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship Group B opener.
When her team raced into a 1-0 lead courtesy of Merel van Dongen's early header – the first goal of the 2010 final tournament – the striker was watching on from the sidelines at the Boris Trajkovski Stadium in Skopje. Her opportunity soon arose, however, and how she took it. Hesterine de Reus withdrew midfielder Vanity Lewerissa in favour of the 17-year-old after 34 minutes, switching from a 4-3-3 to two up front in the process, and some 12 seconds later she rose at the far post to double the Netherlands' lead.
It was a good feeling, of course, and it was a great corner from the left," she told UEFA.com, praising Mauri van de Wetering's delivery. "I managed to make it and, yes, it's a good feeling for me. It was a good team performance, we worked hard and we deserved it."
With the Former Yugolsav Republic of Macedonia – beaten 6-0 by Spain – next up on Thursday, the 2-0 victory has put De Reus's side in a promising position to qualify for the last four for the first time in what is their third appearance at the finals. The VVV Venlo forward nonetheless refused to look beyond the hosts as the Netherlands attempt to build on their strong start.
We've taken the first step to the next round, a big one," said Martens, who should be able to face FYROM despite suffering a foot injury late on in a tackle which resulted in Adeline Rousseau's dismissal. "We're taking things step by step, so now we're looking to the next game to try and get through."
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