Twelve years ago, Margot van Geffen played her first European Championship for the Dutch national team as a 21-year-old talent. Just like now, that was held in the SparkassenPark in Mönchengladbach. ‘It’s special to be back here.’

A thunderous speech is what 33-year-old Van Geffen still remembers well from her first European Championship, in 2011. The Netherlands played in the final against host country Germany. At halftime it was still 0-0. National coach Max Caldas entered the dressing room furiously. ‘He was furious. He asked what on earth we were doing. That really impressed me. After that we really came out of the locker room with a different mindset. We scored three times and won 3-0’, says Van Geffen with a smile.

Margot van Geffen sprints for the ball in the match against Italy. Photo: William Vernes
Margot van Geffen sprints for the ball in the match against Italy. Photo: William Vernes

I was known to throw the occasional party. Together with a few other players I was in the pub every Sunday. Margot van Geffen

Van Geffen is a mourner. Since her debut, she hardly missed a tournament. She is rarely injured. Even now that veterans under Van Ass have no guarantee that they will be selected – such as Eva de Goede – Van Geffen has made the selection and is playing her seventh European Championship. Van Ass he uses where he needs her. One in the back, the other in midfield.

In the summer of 2013, a year after the Olympic gold in London, it was Caldas who told Van Geffen that she had to take steps. Otherwise, her place in the squad might be in jeopardy. “He told me I wasn’t a kid anymore. I was 23 at the time and had only been there for two years. I thought: let me be nice and young. But he thought I should bring more. I just didn’t know what. I was searching.’

Caldas thought that Van Geffen should live more as a top athlete. “I was known for throwing the occasional party. Especially in those years. After the Olympic Games we had a festive year. Together with a few other players I was in the pub every Sunday. We’ve been celebrating that gold medal a little too long. Until Max said: is this what you want to put up? Or do you want to try to achieve even more than this? That triggered something in me. Since then I live for the sport.’

European Championship record for Van Geffen

Van Geffen took over an Orange record against Italy that had been held by former top striker Kim Lammers since 2013. She played her 33rd European Championship match. She recently broke the limit of 250 international matches. But numbers mean nothing to her. “To be honest, I’m not into that. Maybe it will sink in when I stop. But now I’m mainly concerned with winning the European Championship and winning the ticket for Paris. Of course I think it is an honor to be able to represent the Netherlands so often. The fact that the counter now stands at seven European Championships is also very nice.’

It would have been more fun if the match in which Van Geffen set the European Championship record had become a hockey performance. But the Italians did not let that happen on Tuesday afternoon (5-0). “This was a bit of a boring game. We knew that Italy is the worst opponent in the group. Fortunately, the semi-finals are now approaching. I always enjoy those kinds of games. When the pressure is on. That has taken me further than I would have dared to dream twelve years ago.’

by Hockey.nl

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