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Gulbrandsen: Hard work brings its rewards

Solveig Gulbrandsen extolled the virtues of hard work as she savoured Norway's 1-0 Group B win, while the Netherlands' Kirsten van de Ven said they only had themselves to blame for the loss.

Solveig Gulbrandsen wheels away after scoring the only goal in Kalmar
Solveig Gulbrandsen wheels away after scoring the only goal in Kalmar ©Sportsfile

Norway's Solveig Gulbrandsen said her winning goal and performance were down to the hard yards she puts in on the training ground. She also praised her team-mates for adhering to the game plan which helped bring about the defeat of the Netherlands in UEFA Women's EURO 2013 Group B.

Caroline Hansen hopes the goals might finally arrive for her on Wednesday against Germany while, for the Dutch, Renée Slegers explained they knew what Norway's approach would be and should have dealt with it better.     

Solveig Gulbrandsen, Norway midfielder and match winner
It was fun out there. There were lots of spectators in the stands and the team made a great effort. Our tactics worked out very well. We were good at both ends of the pitch and had a much better structure compared to the match against Iceland. If the girls do the job and follow through the plan from A to Z, then it produces results.

It's difficult to judge [her own performance], but it's working well these days – the body responds and it's just about putting in a lot of kilometres and keeping running to make it work. I just have to do my part.

The goal came out of nothing. I was most focused on keeping the ball with me on the run and all of a sudden it was in the net. It was an incredible feeling when it went in, as it wasn't quite what I had expected.

Marit Christensen, Norway defender and player of the match
It was a really important victory for us and a big step towards the next round. The difference between this and the last game is that we were together at the end, we won more 50-50 balls at the end of the game.

I had made my mind up to be tough in the duels, and the set-pieces are important for me and my game. I expect to get those type of chances and I'm happy that I did, but they should end up in the net.

I wouldn't say we were nervous at the end, but we did feel the pressure. They moved higher up the pitch after our goal and pushed more and more players forward. There was danger, but we managed to clear the ball. 

Caroline Hansen, Norway forward
It was absolutely fantastic to win. Netherlands gave us a lot of room for counterattacking and that suited me well. It's too bad I didn't score because I had a few good chances, but, all in all, I'm satisfied.

I feel like I have saved up enough [missed chances]. The cup is full and it will run over against Germany. It is going to be a difficult game but I'd say we aim for a draw – our expectations can't be too high. It will be another good game for us: playing Germany suits us well.

Kirsten van de Ven, Netherlands midfielder
I don't think we came out as strong as we did against Germany, but Norway put in a good performance and deserved the three points. We now have to get together and see what we have to improve on so we can get three points from the next game and move on.

There weren't higher expectations today because against Germany I don't really think we surprised ourselves. We knew what we are capable of. We are more disappointed in ourselves – we should have come out stronger and we have to learn from it.

Renée Slegers, Netherlands midfielder
I'm very disappointed we lost. We knew beforehand what it was going to be like. It's the Norwegian way, they play in an opportunistic style and with long balls. We knew it was going to happen, but still we didn't handle it right. I'm looking forward to the final game – it's fun when it's everything or nothing. We still have chances.