With a victory against the Belgians on Monday, the Dutch Lionesses made it to the quarter finals of the UEFA Women’s EURO 2017. Lisette de Groot, professor of Nutrition and Ageing, will be cheering from the stands: her daughter Jackie Groenen is on the Dutch team.
The families of the players receive tickets for each match. De Groot says she has attended every match. ‘The ambiance in the stadium is very different from watching at home on television. Especially during the opening match in Utrecht; that was really overwhelming. Besides, this is Jackie’s first Euro, which makes it even more special.’
De Groot was one of the few people in the stadium not dressed in orange: Jackie requires her mum and dad to wear the same clothes as they wore during an important match whenever they attend. And it worked: Jackie Groenen played a key part during the match. ‘It was a very intense match. She contributed to both goals. She was tackled by an opponent, which gave the Netherlands a penalty kick and their first goal. During the second goal, she made a pass to Lieke Martens, who went on to score. That was really amazing to see.’
An interesting detail is that De Groot and her family live just across the Belgian border. ‘My older daughter plays football in Belgium, so we also know the ladies on the Belgian team. Some supporters from the village where we live had travelled to Tilburg for the match, and there were some supporters from my hometown in Brabant in the Dutch section. That was really nice.’
Some media already call Groenen the discovery of the EURO and the best football player on the Dutch team. She has not received her football genes from her mother, De Groot jokes. ‘Although I can be very driven.’ However, the professor is not fluttering because of her daughter’s successes. ‘I’m too down-to-earth to do that. And Jackie has the same approach. We look at it one match at a time. But we will certainly stay close in the coming period. I am now on vacation; but I am not going abroad anytime soon.’