As a hockey fan, Jeroen Hertzberger enjoys his first title tournament with the Orange in Hamburg, but the sportsman in him is disappointed that the team is playing for bronze today and not for the European title.
“The tournament is a great experience anyway. I enjoy every second between the beams. I already look back on it with pleasure and a smile. These kinds of international matches make me very happy and I think it’s great to represent the Netherlands. But I am also disappointed that we are not in the final, because it really could have been.’
There was nothing wrong with those words. On the last day of the group matches, the Orange squad was fully in the fight for a place in the final. The team partly threw in its own glasses in the morning by forgetting to give Switzerland the final blow . This brought the Swiss back from a 5-3 deficit to a 5-5 draw.
The task of reaching the final became more complicated when competitor Germany beat the Czech Republic 9-1 in the last group match. As a result, the Orange not only had to beat Austria, which had already qualified for the final, but also with a margin of six goals difference.
“I had hoped that the Czechs could have put up a little more resistance,” says Hertzberger, who watched the Czech Republic’s game against Germany from the side. “We knew something like this could happen, but I didn’t think the difference would be that big. That sucks, but you just don’t do anything about it. Hall hockey is really a dime on its side. You have to come from a good family to play finals. That doesn’t just happen. That is also evident because it has never happened to the Netherlands at a European Championship.’
The Dutch team went all out and defeated the Austrians 7-4 . However, that margin was too small to pass Germany in the group standings. As a result, the victory over the world champion, the first against the Alpine country after five defeats in a row during a European Championship, got a sour edge.
Austria has left the door ajar and we have not kicked it in.Jeroen Hertzberger about the last group match during the European Championship Hall in Hamburg
“It’s a bit of a triple feeling,” says Hertzberger. ‘We put everything on the mat, but I had the idea that the Austrians were saving themselves. They didn’t give everything and that makes it even more sour. Austria has left the door ajar and we have not kicked it in. But at the same time, of course, we just screwed up this morning. We have to be that honest.’
Hertzberger puts his hand in his own bosom. ‘I have to be honest. I just missed too many opportunities. Today for sure. Now we have not got further than three goals difference, while we had the possibilities. That’s very disappointing.’
“I think we can be proud of the way we presented ourselves. We really gave everything and at times showed good indoor hockey with a lot of energy. The energy we missed in the morning.’
The disappointment due to missing out on the final must be quickly put away, because the Orange squad will play for a bronze medal at 12.30 p.m. Hertzberger can count on the support of his parents, wife, children and his brothers Willem and Maurits, both former indoor internationals.
“It’s fantastic,” says Hertzberger. “They got in the car this morning. That does me very good. Hopefully we can reward them tomorrow (today, ed.) with a bronze medal. That would be nice.’