Pro-League: Resilient Orange Starts the Final Phase of the World Cup Prep With a Narrow Victory

The Netherlands has won its first match in the final phase before the World Cup. The team of national coach Jamilon Mülders turned a 2-0 deficit into a 2-3 win against Germany in the Pro League on Saturday afternoon. Five minutes before the end, the winning goal came from the eleventh (!) corner of the Orange.

The countdown has now really started for the Orange Women. The World Cup starts for them on July 2. Monday, the roster for the highlight of this summer of hockey was announced, and Germany-away was the first stop with the limited group.

That group still has to do without Eva de Goede and Marloes Keetels. De Goede is working towards her return after her serious knee injury and has the duels against China (21 and 22 June) as a near dot on the horizon. Keetels was injured after the play-offs and she will also be back in action in the run-up to the World Cup.

It was not that far today in Hamburg. As a result, reserve players Lisa Post and Joosje Burg made their appearance against Germany, the number four in the world. Also striking: Sanne Koolen wore the captain’s armband, which has recently changed hands so often within the selection.

Photo: FIH/Frank UijlenbroekHamburg 2021-22 FIH Hockey Pro League Germany v Netherlands Picture: Germany celebrates the 2-0. WORLDSPORTPICS COPYRIGHT FRANK UIJLENBROEK

German teenagers hurt the Netherlands

It was Koolen who unintentionally played a leading role in the German opening goal. The defender was passed by the talented Jette Fleschütz, who served her team-mate Sara Strauss to measure: 1-0. The duo, both only nineteen years old, were still active in April at the World Cup-21 where Germany lost the final to the Netherlands.  

The big Orange had plenty of opportunities to produce the equalizer, especially from penalty corners. Normally definitely a weapon of the Mülders formation. Today it ran rough. In the first half, the Netherlands was allowed to build eight times, without producing a goal. Incidentally, there was also a run of four corner-away corners at the end of the first quarter.

Germany dealt with the opportunities a lot more effectively and countered them several times in a life-threatening manner. After 21 minutes, the Orange squad was surprised by the completely detached Pia Maertens, who seemed to beat keeper Anne Veenendaal with an old-fashioned high backhand – as it used to be on grass. However, the goalie of Amsterdam countered the ball just before the line, with the convex side of the stick. So a penalty shot. Sonja Zimmermann, who will be active at Bloemendaal next season, did the job easily: 2-0.

Sanne Koolen was captain of the Orange squad on Saturday. The band has been rotating through the player group in recent weeks. Photo: FIH/Frank Uijlenbroek

Finally, fully in control of Germany

Just before the break, the Netherlands seemed to score the connecting goal, but Freeke Moes’s striking and hard shot was rejected. The striker of Amsterdam would have committed a violation when conquering the ball. That 1-2 fell a few minutes after the break.

Felice Albers was sent into the depths by Xan de Waard and rounded off nicely with her backhand. It was the first goal after the Olympic Games for the revelation of Tokyo. This turned out to be a harbinger of a successful third quarter. After a bet by Sabine Plönissen was removed from the line, it was Lidewij Welten who signed for the equalizer with a cunning shot. Nice boost for the Orange squad, which made its eight goals for this match only from standard situations (penalty shots and corners).  

The Netherlands finally had complete control over Germany and went on the hunt for the winning goal. Maria Verschoor was close, but hit the side plank. A corner – the eleventh of the game now – brought the outcome. Again Plönissen’s slide stroke was cracked, but in the rebound the year-old declarant Pien Sanders, who was allowed to blow out 24 candles today, still poked it in: 2-3.

A hopeful end after a difficult start for the Orange squad, which on Saturday showed both a dominant side – many opportunities, eventually also goals – and a vulnerable side. On Sunday, both teams will face each other again, again in Hamburg.  

Germany – Netherlands 2-3 (2-0)
7. Sara Strauss 1-0
21. Sonja Zimmermann 2-0 (sb)
33. Felice Albers 2-1
42. Lidewij Welten 2-2
55. Pien Sanders 2-3 (sc)

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