Correspondent in Qatar
Correspondent in Qatar
“Of course it’s Cody Gackbo! He scored in the first round, scored in the second round and did it again. Holland in the knockout rounds!”
Pien Meulensteen takes off the headset and puts the lip mic away. I just commented on the match between the Netherlands and Qatar for the BBC. “Very private,” she says. Because as her name suggests – “Pien in English is very hard” – she loves it the roots in the Netherlands and feels Dutch, although she has never lived there.
“And they got the job done As they say in English. I expected them to score more, but they’ve made it to the last 16 and that’s what matters. Nice to Holland.”
Meulensteen, 25, will make her BBC World Cup debut in Qatar. She has been part of the group of regular football commentators for the English TV channel for a year now. Being part of this as a young woman was no longer privileged in England. “Now we’re with a whole group of women. For me it’s especially special to be commentating on a match in Holland, of all places. The country where my grandparents live, and from which I hold the passport.”
A big plus for Meulensteen: she didn’t have to study the pronunciation of the names of the Dutch players. She laughs: “Van Dyck, Bergwiss, de Jong, they all find it very difficult in England. Sometimes I have to explain to my colleagues how to pronounce it correctly. I love that.”
Family at the World Cup
Bean isn’t the only loyalist at the World Cup. Father Renee also works in Qatar. For many years he was assistant coach Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United, and now he is the assistant coach of the Australian national team.
“I called out to my dad that he has to be 58 to make his debut, and I’m 25. I said, ‘Dad, I’m a lot faster than you,'” Bean laughs. “Don’t kidding, it’s great that we’re both here.”
Father Renee, in turn, could smile just as forcefully at noticing his daughter. “Boss above boss, shall we say,” he said at the South Stadium Wings, after Australia qualified for their eighth final against Denmark. “I’m really, really proud of what you’re doing, and it’s amazing what you’re going through. Of course it was great to have you commenting on Holland-Qatar. That’s very nice.”
Meulensteen Senior also made his World Cup debut. Live the dreamRenee mentions all the highlights the family experiences here in Qatar. And yes, for father and daughter, it would be great if Pien could comment again on Renee Australia for the BBC.
However, this did not seem to work in the World Cups anymore, because after the group stage, Benn returned to his homeland, to Wilmslow. “Relaxing before Christmas, watching from the sofa how far the Dutch team come. I’m always with Holland. I hope they go very far.”
Renee can’t resist giving the ball back to his daughter. “Ben may have been in the World Cup a lot, much earlier, but I’ve moved on.”
Zombie specialist. Friendly twitter guru. Internet buff. Organizer. Coffee trailblazer. Lifelong problem solver. Certified travel enthusiast. Alcohol geek.