"They brought me here to score goals and when I don't score I hear about it. I think they're happy with me now."
Vivianne Miedema is the master of understatement. Her three goals in Thursday's 4-0 semi-final win against the Republic of Ireland in Mjondalen were celebrated with ever increasing delirium and leaping delight by her team-mates; the 18-year-old herself made do with a smile and raised arm. You made scoring look so easy today, I ask. "Well yeah," she laughs. "That's why I became a striker.
"The first one wasn't one of my most beautiful goals, but it was a really important one. Irish heads dropped a little. It was really important to score so quickly because we didn't want them to start believing in themselves." It was a hammer blow, but Ireland have run a fine line in comebacks at this UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship – two of their three group stage victories originated from losing positions.
Even a "wonderfully executed" second goal from Jeslynn Kuijpers on 34 minutes did not put the game to bed – a number of photographers based themselves behind the Dutch goal in the second half anticipating a comeback. It never came. "We went into the dressing room with a two-goal lead and then you know that they have to come at you in the second period and that we will get more space," says Miedema.
The FC Bayern München striker, scorer of two goals against Scotland a week ago, exploited the extra room within three minutes of the restart. "When the third goal went in we knew we had won the game and that's a great feeling," she smiles. "Then the fourth, my hat-trick goal, was actually quite easy. Our defender [Lucie Akkerman] delivered the ball and Jill [Roord] just got her head to it. It was easy for me to finish.
Right foot, left foot – it is all the same to me. I just shoot with whichever foot is nearest and if I have to use my head then so be it. I've been limited to defensive headers in this tournament to date, though." So why no celebrations? "Of course I am happy, but I'm a bit down to earth and celebrate a bit less enthusiastically than the others. That's just me." That is just Miedema.
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