The Tokyo 2020 Olympic tournament has ended in a big disappointment for the Dutch team. After a disappointing group stage, the Orange squad lost in the quarterfinals, despite a good game, after shoot-outs by Australia, the number 1 in the world. After fourth place in Rio 2016, national coach Max Caldas says goodbye for the second Olympic Games in a row without a medal and leaves for Spain.
The quarterfinals against Australia became a true thriller, with the Aussies taking the lead twice but the Orange fighting back (2-2) and having to take shoot-outs again. Just like in 2018 in the semi-final of the World Cup against Australia and the last European Championship won in both the semi-final and final.
Misses in the shoot-outs
The Orange won those three series, but could not repeat those stunts. Jeroen Hertzberger, Robbert Kemperman and Jonas de Geus missed in succession. Blake Govers, Flynn Ogilvie and Tim Brand scored. End of tournament for Orange.
The players of Orange were deeply disappointed. They cursed, scolded, cried, sticks flew through the air. Many saw their last chance at Olympic gold melt before their eyes in the oven of Oi Hockey Stadium. They stared hollowly at the Australian team that celebrated the victory and has to face Germany in the semifinals on Tuesday. They continue their way to their golden goal in Tokyo.
Orange also came to Tokyo for gold, or at least a medal. That mission failed. Just like in 2016 when the Orange under Caldas still won in the quarterfinals against Australia (4-0). A win over the Kookaburras would also have been part of this quarterfinal, despite the fact that the Orange squad was so difficult in the group stage and Australia started this game as number one in Group A as the towering favorite.
Especially defensively, the Orange was vulnerable this tournament. In an ultimate attempt to close the gaps in the defense, Caldas intervened for the quarterfinals and sacrificed Joep de Mol in favor of youngster Justen Blok, who played his thirteenth international match for the Orange squad. The experienced Glenn Schuurman also played in the back much more often.
‘We’re going all out’
During the warming up, the heads of the Dutch were tight. Captain Billy Bakker called his players together. His words ‘We’re going all out’ echoed through the empty Oi Hockey Stadium.
The Orange did not go wild in the first quarter, but the Orange Men did start well in the quarterfinals. Thierry Brinkman was close to the opening goal after just one minute, after a pass from Mirco Pruyser. Andrew Charter saved, but at the cost of a penalty corner. On his first attempt, Jip Janssen slipped halfway, but still put the ball on the foot of Tim Brand, the Australian with Dutch roots. New corner. Now Janssen was able to fire, but Charter saved cleverly with his clog. After six minutes, Janssen got another attempt at the header, now he produced a drop-off.
The biggest chance for the Orange was thwarted by the arbitrator. Pruyser freed himself well, wanted to lash out with his great backhand, but the referee whistled for a corner. That was another prey for Charter.
Then Australia insisted. Twice via Brand over the back line. Blaak saved the first time. The second time, the Dutch goalkeeper hit it again, but had to allow a rebound, which meant that Tom Wickham somewhat happily scored the 1-0. A setback for the Orange that so longed for a good start and some luck.
Just like sufficient conviction, that was also missing in the fifth corner that the Orange already got in the first quarter. After four times Janssen, it was now Mink van der Weerden who was allowed to fire. Charter also beat him. For example, the corner, which had been so difficult in this tournament, seemed to get stuck early again.
The Orange squad, which finally showed its better side, was also able to keep pace with Australia in the second quarter. Finally, this tournament was also well in the back for once. Not only because Blok played sober but well, but especially under the leadership of a truly unparalleled Sander de Wijn. He was solid defensively, made a lot of interceptions, and provided the necessary impulses offensively. Because the Australians also master the art of defense to perfection, there were no great opportunities in the second quarter.
At the start of the third quarter, the Orange scored after a penalty corner. From number 27 this tournament, Van der Weerden only shot the second, but oh so important 1-1 on the boards. He clenched his fist and screamed.
The experienced defender signaled the start of a good period for the Orange squad, which had frequent possession and pushed Australia back. But that’s exactly what the Aussies like to be able to strike in the switch.
That happened again and again not without some fortune. Brand now passed the ball from the other side, who caromed right in front of Wickham’s stick who scored accurately: 2-1.
Orange had to start again. Australia collapsed again and the Orange formed an attacking circle on the half of the Kookaburras. Patiently the men searched for that rare hole in the Australian wall. Hertzberger found it just before the end of the third quarter. His backhand stranded on Charter’s glove.
In the fourth quarter, the Orange did not give up with a leading role for the strongly playing Pruyser. First the attacker took a penalty corner, which he seemed to use in the rebound, but saw the ball go wide through Sharp’s body. penalty ball. Hertzberger, who previously missed this tournament against South Africa, made no mistake against Charter: 2-2.
The same Pruyser caused a perilous moment a few minutes later by running into a yellow card. With one more man, Australia insisted. Orange formed a fortress, as Blaak had wished beforehand and survived the difficult phase. Both teams gave their all until the end. Australia was close to a goal in the final minute of regular time, but Blaak saved with the help of his defenders. He greeted the 2-2 and the shoot-outs with cheers.
That was cheered too early, because the Dutch team was not involved in the shootout series, so that the team again flies home without a medal.
Australia*-Netherlands 2-2 (1-0)
’13 Tom Wickham 1-0
’32 Mink van der Weerden 1-1 (sc)
’38 Tom Wickham 2-1
’50 Jeroen Hertzberger 2-2 (sb)
Australia wins after shoot-outs (3-0)