The Dutch national team concluded the group stage as the winner in Tokyo on Saturday by beating opponent Germany 3-1. The Netherlands Ladies played very good hockey, especially in the first quarter. Unnecessarily they let Germany get back into the game, but in the end they stayed on their feet fairly easily. The 3-1 fell four minutes before the end. On Monday, the Netherlands will play in the quarterfinals against New Zealand, the number four of the other group.
It was interesting to see how the Netherlands would recover after the difficult match against Great Britain (1-0 win) with a quarterfinal against Argentina dangerously looming, the number three of the other group and the only country to managed to beat the Orange once in two years. New Zealand is an opponent from which the Orange should be able to win more easily on paper, so everything was important not to lose to the still undefeated Germany and thus become group winner.
Strong first quarter
Midfielder Xan de Waard fired the first shot at goal with her backhand after two minutes, which was stopped by keeper Julia Sonntag with her glove. It ushered in a strong first quarter, in which the Netherlands played hockey with a display of power. Germany, the losing European Championship finalist from seven weeks ago, had nothing to contribute for the time being.
When Lidewij Welten reached the first penalty corner of the match with a rush, thoughts went back to the past matches. The Netherlands had already taken 46 penalty corners in Tokyo, by far the majority by Caia van Maasakker, of which only six had been used: three times directly, once via a tip-in and twice from a rebound. After the difficult game against the British, national coach Alyson Annan acknowledged that the penalty corner was not running and told him that he had to go back to the drawing board.
Now that the Orange took the first corner of the game, second taker Frédérique Matla was not in the field. Besides Van Maasakker, Sanne Koolen reported at the head of the circle, but it was Van Maasakker who fired a drag push, a prey for goalkeeper Sonntag.
A few minutes later, the Netherlands took a penalty corner for the second time. This time, Van Maasakker was not chosen, but Matla. With a drag push, she hit the foot of runners-up Hanna Granitzki, causing the ball to change direction and Sonntag was unable to reach it in the bottom left corner. It was 1-0 after eight minutes of hockey.
The Netherlands continued to play hockey at a killer pace and distanced itself from Germany by making the 2-0 in the first quarter. The opening to the right flank belonged to captain Eva de Goede. What followed was a glorious attack. Felice Albers found Laurien Leurink, who served Welten. With a tip-in she scored her first goal of the tournament, a boost for the dribbling queen of Den Bosch, who visibly lacked some match rhythm during these Olympic Games. Now she played a great game.
Ball on Van Maasakker’s head
In the second quarter, a leading role was played by Van Maasakker, who suddenly cried out in pain when the ball was shot on her forehead from close range. The defender left the field with a contorted face. It wasn’t until a few minutes into the third quarter for her to come back inside the lines, with a bandage over her eyebrow.
The Netherlands then had a difficult phase, in which Germany took a penalty corner for the first time. Immediately Sonja Zimmermann pushed in the 2-1. The ball went straight between the legs of goalkeeper Josine Koning. It was clear that the Netherlands could do anything but sit back. Germany put up better resistance in the second quarter than in the first and Orange sometimes looked sloppy. However, two penalty corners were achieved, which Frédérique Matla did not cash in.
Low return corners
The return from the penalty corner remained too low, because at the beginning of the third quarter Matla was allowed to put in twice, but both her attempts were unsuccessful. She pushed hard on the post, but it remained 2-1.
On the other side of the field, the Netherlands ran into problems when Van Maasakker received a green card. Koning had to kick a ball away with her foot, after which Germany was not sharp on the rebound. It was a small, rare chance for Die Danas , but it indicated that the Netherlands had to continue to be careful.
Germany went after the 2-2 in the last quarter, but made far too many technical errors to force serious opportunities. The Germans were dominant in the last minutes, but the defense of Orange was solid again. A penalty corner was saved with her feet by King.
Viewed pass Welten
When Welten served Matla four minutes before the end after a fine dribble and with a watched ball, Matla threw the game into the lock (3-1) with a handy tap past Sonntag. Because of the win, the Orange squad will play against New Zealand on Monday, normally an opponent to beat in the quarterfinals.
Germany – Netherlands 1-3 (1-2)
8. Frédérique Matla (sc) 0-1
14. Lidewij Welten 0-2
23. Sonja Zimmermann (sc) 1-2
56. Frédérique Matla 1-3