The Oranje Heren started the second Pro League block in the packed international summer with a victory. In London, Spain was defeated 3-2, all Dutch goals fell after the break. In the English capital, the Dutch will play against the formation of Max Caldas again on Monday.
The Orange selection underwent a metamorphosis compared to the first block last week in Eindhoven. The internationals from Bloemendaal and Kampong returned with the exception of the injured Jip Janssen and Terrance Pieters, who suffered back problems in England in the morning.
In a sunny and modestly occupied Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Center the question was whether the Orange team could continue the good line of the 5-2 victory over Australia in Eindhoven. The answer to that was initially ‘no’. In the first quarter, the attacking game was poor. Many technical errors were made and the Orange players also lost out in the mutual duels.
Strikingly enough, goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak was the Orange customer who had to take action the most with the Dutch national team in the first fifteen minutes. He saved on a bet by José Basterra, who didn’t hit the ball completely, so that Blaak could easily turn with the glove. The goalkeeper was then well in the way at the first Spanish penalty corner and moments later attention was required with an action by Marc Reyne, who tipped wide from close range.
After the break, the Netherlands strikes
Blaak had to intervene again towards the end of the first quarter. He kicked the ball dangerously away, allowing the Spaniards to take another penalty corner. Marc Miralles’ first bet – next year in the colors of Bloemendaal – was lost, after which the rebound hit the post. Spain kept possession, after which Blaak saved Enrique Gonzalez. The Orange defense did not get the ball out of the circle. Xavier Gispert punished it with a hard bang: 0-1.
In the second quarter, the Orange started to put more pressure on Spain. That immediately resulted in a first promising opportunity for Dennis Warmerdam after a pass from Derck de Vilder. But just before the attacker wanted to lash out, Gispert got in the middle with his stick. The Netherlands scored four penalty corners in the second quarter, three of them in a row. Boris Burkhardt, however, failed to find a hole in the corner defense of the Spaniards.
The start of the Orange after the break was fine. Van Heijningen successfully requested a referral and used the rebound from a corner himself: 1-1. The Spaniards also decorated a penalty corner in the first attack after the break. Miralles’ sights were off. He pushed the ball wide of Blaak’s goal. The Netherlands had more control and took the lead at the end of the third quarter. Koen Bijen picked up the ball from Jasper Brinkman in the Spanish circle and then lifted it into the goal via Rafi: 2-1.
Bees makes the decision
The attacker of Den Bosch decided the match beautifully in the last quarter. Seven minutes before the end, Bijen tipped Brinkman’s cross high against the ropes: 3-1. De Hagenaar was still close to scoring his third goal, but Rafi saved. Alvaro Iglesias made it 3-2 just in time, but that could not prevent the fifth season victory of the Dutch in the Pro League. It wasn’t great, enough for the victory, that’s for sure.
On Monday, the Oranje Heren will play Spain again in London before Delmée’s selection travels to Amsterdam and then concludes the Pro League in Antwerp.