Two games without a goal constitutes a drought for the prolific Lieke Martens, and she is eager to rediscover her touch with the Netherlands needing to score at least three against Germany.
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Top scorer at last year's finals, Lieke Martens is yet to get off the mark in Emilia-Romagna as the Netherlands, too, have struggled to reach the heights of 2010. They go into Sunday's meeting with Germany knowing they need a three-goal victory over Germany to have any chance of progress, but Martens insists they "will not give up."
How quickly fortunes change. A year older and wiser from her four-goal haul in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, many expected Martens to take the UEFA European Women's Under-19 Championship by storm this summer. She bolstered her reputation with eight goals in six qualifiers but the net has proved elusive in Italy. "Maybe I should shoot on goal earlier instead of dribbling my way into the box," she told UEFA.com.
Her lack of goals have not been through any lack of endeavour – as the bruises on her right arm attest – but rather part of a team problem. They managed 33 goals in six games en route to the finals; they have mustered one in two Group B outings since they got here, following a 1-1 draw against Spain (Martens setting up Pia Rijsdijk) with a 3-0 loss to Norway. "We made bad starts to both matches – that's what has gone wrong," said the newly-signed Standard Fémina de Liège striker.
"Usually we create a lot of chances because that's how we play but it has proven hard to impose our own game at this tournament." Johan van Heertum's side will have to on Sunday in Imola, where they have the improbable task of defeating Group B winners Germany by a three-goal margin. "We will go for it but it will be difficult because it also depends on the result of the other game." Indeed if Norway win against Spain, Netherlands will go home.
The portents are not good, as Martens recalls her last two meetings with Germany both ended in losses, including a 3-0 friendly defeat as recently as March. But she does remember a 3-1 victory at Under-15 level in 2006. They are always rivals for the Netherlands but especially Martens as she hails from Nieuw-Bergen, a small town right on the border between the countries. She pretends to speak German only "ein bisschen". Now she needs to remind her team-mates she is fluent in the art of goalscoring.