While the Oranje Dames Zaal are now back in the Netherlands, we took another full look at the images of the lost European Championship final against Germany on Saturday (5-4) in Hamburg. We look back at that intense, nerve-racking final battle with five key moments.
1. Orange deals the first blow
Under pressure from a few thousand hostile spectators in the stands of the Sporthalle Hamburg, it is precisely the Orange that surprisingly deals the first blow. Drawing first blood , as the English say so aptly. Laura van Heugten rushes into the circle on the right and pulls the ball back hard on the back line, on the foot of the German attacker Pia Maertens: penalty corner Orange.
Twice Lieke van Wijk’s push results in a new corner and on the third time it hits: Van Wijk’s sixth goal this European Championship, the Orange leads: 0-1. The Netherlands is therefore the only team that succeeds in putting Germany behind this tournament and also keeping it from scoring in the first quarter. That also worked in the mutual group match of the day before: the Orange even took a 2-0 lead.
2. Orange survives German press
Germany puts the Orange under high pressure on the field at the beginning of the second quarter and thus completely paralyzes the build-up via Lieke van Wijk in particular. The captain of Orange comes under pressure a few times and leads directly into Maertens’ 1-1 with a loss of ball.
However, with the only smooth attack from backwards in the second ten minutes of the game, the Orange strikes again mercilessly. Via right back Mabel Brands, Noor de Baat nicely turns away from opponent Franzisca Hauke in midfield and then, after a short solo, serves Pam Imhof to size: 1-2.
3. Chaos after yellow Heerbaart
Last minute of the first half: Germany’s Lisa Altenburg takes the ball in a detached position on the head circle at a counter. She turns on her forehand around the hatched Alexandra Heerbaart. The Orange closing post tries to tap the ball away with her stick, but only hits air. Still, to everyone’s surprise, the Orange team conceded a penalty corner and a head-shaking Heerbaart was allowed to go to the side: she was given a yellow card by referee Gemma Jones.
Without a keeper under the crossbar, the Orange has to defend the corner, still with a 1-2 lead. Viktoria Huse pushes high on goal where Noor de Baat keeps the ball out of the goal through her body: penalty shot for the German women. Timman brings second keeper Julia Remmerswaal into the field. He sees Altenburg’s weak push disappear to the left of the post. With one man less, the Orange struggles to stay upright in the last forty seconds.
4. Resurrection via Zwinkels
After the break, the Orange seems to capitulate in the Pia Maertens show. The nimble attacker scores twice on the left with an unstoppable push into the far corner: a shot from the hip that comic book hero Lucky Luke would envy. Once it is Remmerwaal who has a check under the bar at Orange, after that the returned Heerbaart has no chance.
But just when everyone thinks that Germany has finally turned the game, Donja Zwinkels arrives. Sticking to the right bar, she smoothly turns away from Sonja Zimmermann and Sara Strauss a few seconds after the 2-3 with the ball on her stick. The indoor diva then also slaloms past Janne Müller-Wielandt and Maertens and lobs the ball at speed over the leggards of keeper Nathalie Kubalski.
Although Zwinkels’ equalizer loses value moments later because Germany strikes twice via Altenburg and takes a 5-3 lead, the Orange gives a boost : with a Zwinkels on track, there are always scoring opportunities. Especially if the Orange creates an excess in the last minutes by taking keeper Heerbaart to the side. The guts are rewarded one minute before the end: Zwinkels darts towards Kubalski on the right and passes her with a bow ball in the far corner, 5-4.
5. Drama in the closing seconds
And then those insane final seconds of the final. Under the deafening applause of the German supporters, who are already counting down en masse to the final signal, Gabrielle Mosch pumps the ball hard towards the German circle in an ultimate effort. Her shot is intercepted by Maertens, but the ball jumps high off her stick, after which she also pushes the ball away. While the buzzer sounds in the hall, the German players run into the field cheering with photographers around them, referee Gemma Jones has blown his whistle for a penalty corner for the Dutch.
When order has been somewhat restored in the chaos, Lieke van Wijk fires a cannonball at the German target. The ball bounces back onto the ground through keeper Kubalski’s helmet, after which Laura van Heugten, Gabrielle Mosch and Van Wijk ended up in a ball fight with Sonja Zimmermann. The ball would have hit Zimmermann’s foot. The Orange trio begs Jones for a new penalty corner, but it does not give way.
No new chance for the Orange from the top circle and a dramatic conclusion to a thrilling spectacle between the two best indoor teams in the world rankings.