The Orange Men have beaten France in the FIH Pro League with pain and difficulty. Where the Netherlands made a big impression the day before with the 11-1 against South Africa , it was now only won after taking shoot-outs. The country that was actually not supposed to participate in this competition at all turned out to be a very difficult customer in practice. After regular time it was 2-2 in Potchefstroom.
The relief could be read on Joep de Mol’s face after he shot into the winning shoot-out. Joy, but above all liberation. The clenched fist spoke volumes. Happy. Still somewhat a good ending against France, which was only admitted to the Pro League fifteen days ago.
A development that the number thirteen in the world owed to Canada. That team had withdrawn, due to all the uncertainty surrounding the corona virus. But… Canada was also a reserve. That team was – together with South Africa, which stood their ground – designated as replacement for Australia and New Zealand in December. Those countries did not want to participate because of the damned virus.
It might sound a bit silly, but the Orange squad played against the substitute of the substitute today . A stand-in crew. Just like South Africa, not a real indicator for the Netherlands on paper. Indeed, on paper. Because on the field it soon turned out to be really different.
The carelessly cuddling French teenager
Only five minutes had passed when keeper Maurits Visser heard the aluminum. A warning shot from Martin Brisac. Watch out Orange, that was the message. But the Netherlands, due to the absence of Pirmin Blaak, Lars Balk and Jip Janssen with much less experience in the back, did not heed that warning. Five minutes later it was still hit, via Stanislas Branicki. The teenager played casually past two Orange customers and passed Visser in the short corner: 1-0. The Netherlands did get some chances, but initially – also due to the successful use of the video referees by the French – they yielded very little.
That changed when Thierry Brinkman, a bit out of the blue, equalized the Netherlands after 23 minutes. Orange’s captain was completely released by everything and everyone in blue, although Jorrit Croon’s preliminary work – nicely released and sensitive pass with the tip – was very beautiful. The 1-1 caused a revival, which brought the Orange two corners. In the latter, the Dutch were very unlucky that they lost their video referral – because the confused whistling Wanri Venter had apparently already given them an advantage.
In practice, France turned out to be a much more difficult customer than South Africa. Even after the break, Frederic Soyez’s team had done well defensively, although the Netherlands should have finished 2-1 in the third quarter. After a nice through ball from Steijn van Heijningen, Thijs van Dam hit keeper Arthur Thieffry from close by. The rebound – that chance was even greater – was swept by Terrance Pieters. The valleys in the Netherlands were meanwhile also deep, such as a blind ball from Derck de Vilder that went over the sideline in the big nothing.
The same De Vilder was close to the winner ten minutes before the end. De Kamponger also tapped the ball in, but had made a shoot earlier. Orange saved the best for last and increased the pressure. France did its very best to survive, but was knocked out five minutes before the end. And how. The hard-fought 2-1 of the Netherlands was magnificent. Joep de Mol scooped the ball from about 25 meters to Koen Bijen, who shot hard from the air. A goal that the video referee couldn’t change anything either.
The loot seemed to be in for Orange. Indeed, seemed. Because Victor Charlet, the French corner giant, was allowed to moor again four minutes before the end from the head of the circle. The ball still stroked the stick of line stop Thierry Brinkman, but went against the board: 2-2 and so still shoot-outs.
In this, the Orange first lagged behind due to Thierry Brinkman’s miss, but a great save from Visser brought the Netherlands back into the race. After France missed for the second time, De Mol shot his team to the two points – which a team gets with a shoot-out win.
Entirely in line with the trend of the match, that decision was also challenged by the video referee. But this time it was unable to help France. As a result, the Orange squad remains unbeaten in the Pro League, but also showed its vulnerability on Wednesday. In that respect, this match provides more teaching material for Delmée than yesterday’s 11-1 victory.
Netherlands* – France 2-2 (1-1)
10. 0-1 Branicki
23. 1-1 T. Brinkman
55. 2-1 Bees
56. 2-2 Charlet (sc)
*win on shoot-outs
Van Dam (Netherlands) hit, 1-0
Lockwood (France) hit, 1-1
T. Brinkman (Netherlands) miss, 1-1
Tynevez (France) hit, 1-2
Reijenga (Netherlands) hit, 2 -2
Dumont (France) wrong, 2-2
Bijen (Netherlands) hit, 3-2
Charlet (France) wrong, 3-2
De Mol (Netherlands) hit, 4-2