Utrecht players have taken part in two really big games recently. The Men’s Hockey team were runners up in the World Cup, just missing out on a Gold by shoot-out against Belgium in India.
Closer to home, the Women’s National Handball team were Bronze Medal winners in the European championships in France.
Max Caldas leaves mixed feelings about the lost World Cup final, he is understandably disappointed, but also sees some positive points.
The Dutch team drew 0-0 against Belgium and then lost 3-2 in the shoot-outs.
The Netherlands thus just missed the fourth world title in their history and the first in twenty years since they won in Utrecht of all places!.
“We fought as lions until the last second and were very close, it feels very empty, but I am proud of the team’s ability to improve and improve during the tournament,”
Despite the painful defeat Caldas sees positives and a bright future for the Dutch team.
“We have to be extremely proud of how we played and how we have put our country back on the map with the way we played, we have entertained the audience and ourselves, had a great time in India, but unfortunately it was not”.
Thijs van Dam, one of the players who missed in the shoot-outs, struggled to put into words how he felt.
“At the moment I am heavily involved, and I think everyone is incredibly sad.”
Van Dam scored in the shoot-outs in the semi-final against Australia, failed against the Belgians.
“I made another choice and it did not work out well.
The new world champion Belgium have never been in a World Cup final until this tournament and also never won a medal. A fifth place was the best performance they had ever achieved.
Meanwhile, the Dutch Handball players are delighted with their bronze medal at the European Championships in France.
In the game for a medal last Sunday in Paris they beat Romania 24-20.
“Especially in the first half we had more energy than Romania, you could see that it was difficult for both teams, so I’m very happy that we have bronze, the girls have given everything”,
said national coach Helle Thomsen
Kelly Dulfer, who was voted best defender of the tournament, felt, like Thomsen, that bronze was the best they could have done at the tournament in France.
“If you had said in advance that we would take bronze, I would be super happy. France was just too strong in the semi-finals and we can be very happy and proud. As a team we have given everything
The European Championship bronze was the fourth medal in a major tournament for the handball players in the past three years. In December 2015 there was a silver at the World Cup and a year later the Netherlands were second at the European Championships. World bronze was added last year.