The Orange squad became European champion for the eleventh time in history on Sunday afternoon. In the European Championship final against Germany, the Netherlands was once again under pressure, but a goal by Frédérique Matla four minutes before the end meant the liberation (2-0). The Wagener Stadium exploded.
Dancing, cuddling and partying, the Orange Ladies celebrated the title with the thousands of excited spectators, which they also conquered two years ago in Antwerp. They left the Wagener Stadium again with the cup and the knowledge that the Netherlands is unbeatable for the rest of Europe.
And that while it was not always fantastic what the Orange showed in this tournament. The absolute top form was still missing, a month and a half before the start of the Olympic Games. Margot van Geffen, back from her elbow injury, doesn’t seem to be in the shape of her life yet. Midfielder Malou Pheninckx – for whom the final was her 100th international match – said herself that she played better every European Championship match. Last Friday, in the third quarter of the semi-final against Belgium, the Netherlands even faltered for a while. The Red Panthers nearly made it 2-2.
On the other hand, the European Championship seemed to be liberating for some players. Caia van Maasakker’s sometimes criticized penalty corners flew back into the intersection like a comet. Attacker Frédérique Matla excelled for the first time in Orange in a final tournament. Felice Albers applied emphatically for a place in the Tokyo selection.
1-0 Marloes Keetels
The Netherlands did not always convince against Germany either, although the start of the match was strong. The well-known penalty corner variant back on reporter Marloes Keetels was not seen through by the Germans, so that the Netherlands had the desired lead after eighteen minutes of hockey and a strong first quarter. Keetels drew her cheering teammates to him like a magnet to celebrate the 1-0.
It was thanks to the strong goalkeeper Julia Sonntag that the Germans were not faced with a greater backlog in that phase of the match. With her glove she kept a backhand shot from Frédérique Matla out of the goal after just twenty seconds of playing hockey. She was also the boss of a penalty corner from Matla in the first quarter.
Germany grew the second quarter in the game. Divided over two phases, Die Danas then took five penalty corners. Four times they opted for a (too soft) train by Sonja Zimmerman. Once for a variant, which was far too complicated. The defense of the Netherlands was not fooled.
Many penalty corners for Germany
Nevertheless, the lead was too small to be reassured. At the start of the third quarter, the Netherlands got a penalty corner, the fourth of the game. Sonntag took Matla’s tow off the line. It ensured that the Netherlands had to remain vigilant. The Orange squad was stronger, but came under pressure halfway through the third quarter, as a result of a number of sloppy passes. Sanne Koolen even prevented the 1-1 with a good intervention just in front of the goal. The Netherlands had to be careful.
The Netherlands was also under pressure in the fourth quarter. Germany scored three penalty corners in quick succession. Only when a variant was chosen did danger arise. Twice Josine Koning threw her body against a shot from Lisa Altenburg. On the other hand, Felice Albers had the 2-0 on her stick, but again goalkeeper Sonntag got in the way.
2-0 Frederique Matlac
Four minutes before the end, Matla put an end to all uncertainty. After a long sprint and a slip from a German defender, she penetrated the circle. Everyone expected a hard shot, but with a leep backhandball – no doubt not intended that way – the Netherlands made it 2-0. The video referee did not want to know anything from the convex side. As a result, the Orange extended the European title.
Netherlands-Germany 2-0 (1-0)
’18 Marloes Keetels 1-0 (sc)
’56 Frédérique Matla 2-0