Siri Worm has praised the influence of coach Hesterine de Reus for leading the Netherlands through to their first ever UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship semi-final – and the centre-back has no intention of letting England deny them a maiden showpiece appearance when they cross paths on Wednesday.
Before touching down in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Jong Oranje had only twice reached the final tournament at this level, winning just one game and losing five group games in 2003 and 2006. They have taken the current edition by storm, however, and boast the best record of all four semi-finalists thanks to three wins from three outings, 11 goals scored and none conceded.
Few expected them to post such convincing figures, but while other teams may boast more sparkling individual talents, the Netherlands owe much of their success to superb preparation. "[De Reus] is a great coach and she's very strong on tactics," said Worm. "
Her organisation of the team is very good and in the moments when we need to be sharp, the coach is there for us."
As captain, the 18-year-old can be similarly rigorous when needed. "It's my job to correct my team-mates, both on and off the pitch," she said. "I speak a lot with the coach and I enjoy being a leader." That sense of responsibility has also helped the Netherlands form their reputation for miserliness at the back, where Worm leads a solid rearguard alongside Hélène Heemskerk. "We play as a team," she added. "I have a good understanding with Hélène which comes from both our work on the training ground and the matches themselves."
They may need all of that defensive discipline at the National Arena on Wednesday against holders England. For Worm, who previously represented her country at U15 and U17 level, Mo Marley's side are particularly strong in attack. "They have very good forwards – especially the No9 [Toni Duggan] and No10 [Jessica Holbrook]," she explained. "It's going to be difficult to defend against them. But we think we can win because we took nine points in the group stage."
The game will be a repeat of the semi-final at last year's UEFA WOMEN'S EURO in Finland, where England prevailed thanks to a late Jill Scott goal in extra time. "I saw that match but I hope we can win our one," said Worm. "It's a chance for revenge. It's also nice for me because it's the first time I've played in the European Championship, though not the last, I hope." Nor does she want Wednesday's game to be her last outing this time around. "We're hopeful of going all the way."
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