It was sweltering, there was a breath of wind, but the Netherlands still started in too low a gear. Australia, one of the top countries at this world championship, immediately came out on top. The Dutch Juniors had to get used to that. ‘Intensity!’ national coach Dave Smolenaars roared from the dug-out, after just a few minutes of hockey.
The Dutch Juniors seemed to grow in the match. Shots from Lotte Beetsma and Emma Reijnen provided the first chances of the match. But everything changed when Australia earned the first penalty corner of the match after twelve minutes. Taturn Stewart immediately pushed the ball high past first goalkeeper Sofie ter Kuile. Australia led 0-1. The players of the Dutch Juniors who were on the field at that moment immediately put their heads together.
Alessia Norbiato replaced by Noa Muller
It was not the first setback for the Dutch Juniors in the past 24 hours, after the convincing 10-0 win on Monday in the practice match against New Zealand. On Tuesday afternoon, the technical staff made an important decision. Alessia Norbiato has been ill for a few days. She missed the last moments of training and was therefore not considered fit to start the World Cup. Norbiato has been replaced by reserve Noa Muller and is now a reserve himself. A downer for Norbiato, who was given the green light after her knee injury a week before leaving for Chile. She can only take action if one of her teammates sustains an injury.
After the early setback of the 0-1, the Dutch Juniors put their shoulders to the wheel. The Netherlands dominated the second quarter. Mikki Roberts pushed a penalty corner onto the foot of goalkeeper Jordan Bliss. Mette Winter and Trijntje Beljaars also encountered the Australian goalie. This strong phase should actually have resulted in the equalizer, but that did not happen. As a result, the Netherlands went to the dressing room with a 0-1 deficit.
The Dutch Juniors remained patient in the third quarter. The Netherlands soon hit the post. Just when the Dutch storm subsided, the reigning world champion managed to score the equalizer. On a pass from Mette Winter, Guusje Moes scored the equalizer from the turn: 1-1.
Trijntje Beljaars makes the 2-2
The Netherlands opened the hunt for the 2-1 in the last quarter, but also had to be careful of conceding a goal. Australia won a corner for the second time this match. Stewart, the maker of the 0-1, pushed straight at Ter Kuile. But Maddison Brooks scored on the rebound. With six minutes to play, the Netherlands again found themselves behind.
The Dutch Juniors then showed resilience. Three minutes before the end, Trijntje Beljaars pushed home the 2-2 from a penalty corner. Thus, the match ended in a draw. The Dutch Juniors will undoubtedly have mixed feelings about the match: the team will be happy with the late 2-2, but also dissatisfied that the dominance was not converted into a win. The Netherlands will play the second group match on Thursday, against South Africa (10:30 PM Dutch time).