Red Flames only get past Northern Ireland in the lock thanks to comeback kid Ella Van Kerkhoven


The Red Flames had a difficult game against Northern Ireland and only got past the European Championship debutant in the final. The Irish were already ten on the field by then. Ella Van Kerkhoven celebrated her comeback with two goals and Tessa Wullaert also scored two goals. In the end it was still 4-1, but it was not thunderous, especially in the first half.

Valerie Van Avermaet

The team performance against Northern Ireland was disappointing, especially in the first half, but a few Red Flames took their chance. Such as 21-year-old Sari Kees. After she had her chance against England last week in the center back and the Englishmen more than once loved a goal, she was allowed to play on the right wing this time – a less natural position for her.

In the first minutes she had to search for a while, but then Kees showed why national coach Ives Serneels had chosen her over Laura Deloose, who was not under the market against the English. Kees showed her courage and duel power more than once. Although she was at the root of the goal against the Irish due to an inattention. Kees lost the ball and Lauren Wade scored out of the blue from outside the box.

Weather Wullaert

At that point, however, the Flames had already scored. After a sloppy start with a lot of ball loss and slow play, they got through more and more as the first half progressed. The Belgians felt that if they played faster, the Irish would lag behind. Davina Philtjens accelerated on the left flank and crossed in one time. Wullaert had continued well and was able to score the 1-0. Immediately the first Belgian goal this practice campaign.

In the second half Kees had to make way for Elena Dhont. She still lacks match rhythm and after half an hour against England Serneels now awarded her one half. Cayman moved back a row to man the right back, while Dhont was allowed to let off steam in the front.


Dhont quickly came close to 2-1 after a nice dribble, but aimed just over. Moments later, she was again close to the lead. After a play by Wullaert, Dhont turned away well, but her shot went wide. She remained ubiquitous and launched Wullaert who could only charge on target. However, Irish goalkeeper Jackie Burns took down the Fortuna Sittard striker and had to be sidelined with a red card. So not 2-1, but the Northern Irish who had to continue with ten. Only then could the Flames not take advantage initially.

Comeback kids

Until… Ella Van Kerkhoven was allowed to fill in. For the first time since February 21, 2021, she was allowed to show herself in the shirt of the national team after a long injury. She headed in the winning goal on a cross from Dhont. The discharge of the attacker was immense and the enthusiasm of the rest of the team resulted in Wullaert’s 3-1. Van Kerkhoven also scored the 4-1 in the end. Talk about a comeback.


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