Ninth world title for the Orange after victory over Argentina
Reigning Olympic champion the Netherlands won the world title for the ninth time on Sunday evening. In the World Cup final in the Spanish city of Terrassa, the Orange squad played its best game of the tournament. Opponent Argentina, the number two in the world, was nicely beaten 3-1.
For the Netherlands it was the third world title in a row. When the buzzer sounded, the substitutes sprinted into the field overjoyed. In the circle of Orange, the players fell into each other’s arms. The joy and relief were great in the Dutch camp. Some internationals were soon on the field with tears in their eyes. National coach Jamilon Mülders became emotional and dropped to his knees. Captain Marloes Keetels proudly raised the cup. For the 29-year-old midfielder, the World Cup final was her 176th international match and her last game of her career. Since 2013, she has been part of the selection of the Dutch national team.
Argentina was hit hard. Excited, the internationals of Las Leonas sought support from each other. Beforehand, the expectation was that Argentina would really have a chance. Compared to the Olympic final in Tokyo (3-1 win for the Netherlands), the Argentines seemed stronger and the Netherlands actually became weaker. But in Spain, the same final score was ultimately on the scoreboard. Argentina was left with consolation prizes for Maria Granatto (best player of the World Cup) and Belén Succi (best goalkeeper of the World Cup), who blundered at the 1-0.
At the 3-0 tiki-taka hockey was suddenly back
Conquering the world title means the end of an eventful period for the Orange. The aftermath of the affair surrounding the departed national team coach Alyson Annan led to cracks in the team, some of which were glued, but not all. The scars of all the unrest were visible this World Cup.
But in Spain there was a completely different Orange than in Amsterdam. That certainly also applied to the final against Argentina, which was on the hunt for the third world title. Four years ago at the world championship in London, the ball went from stick to stick in the Netherlands like a magnet, but this World Cup did not show the magical tiki-taka hockey for a long time. Until the 36th minute of the most important game of the tournament.
With a score of 2-0, Maria Verschoor, Yibbi Jansen and Eva de Goede formed a beautiful triangle in their own half. They completely ticked the poor Argentines away. For a moment it was like it was 2018 again. The Netherlands then quickly countered to the other side of the field via a beautiful pass from De Goede to Freeke Moes.
On speed it was then Felice Albers who received the ball. She outsprinted an Argentine defender. Albers pushed into the circle, kept cool and hit the target. The Netherlands led 3-0. The battle for the world title was decided.
Goal Verschoor after a strong start Argentina
The atmosphere in the stadium was beautiful on Sunday evening. When the names of the Argentinian selection were announced by the Spanish-speaking speaker just before the start of the final, a loud cheer went up after each Argentine name in the Estadi Olímpic, which for the first time this World Cup (with a capacity of more than 7,000 ) was sold out. Although there were also many Dutch people in the stands, Terrassa looked like Buenos Aires this evening. The ‘ Argentina, Argentina ‘ rippled through the stadium at 9.30pm.
Immediately from the exit Argentina attacked. Early in the game, Argentine drag phenomenon Agustina Gorzelany was allowed to take two penalty corners in a row, but the first was taken off the line by Marloes Keetels after a tip-in. The second pushed Gorzelany next to Josine Koning’s goal, who was under the bar throughout the final. Argentina was unable to take advantage of the strong opening phase.
After the Dutch national team had survived the first minutes without damage, things got a little better in the game. Only at the beginning of the second quarter did that lead to the first chance. Felice Albers intercepted a scoop, after which the ball landed on an Argentine foot, which led to the first Dutch penalty corner.
With Frédérique Matla on the bench, it made sense that Yibbi Jansen would be the one who fired a drag push into the goal. The flamboyant goalkeeper Belén Succi (36), who played her last international match, made a capital mistake. Via her right arm and her back she played the ball at the second post in Maria Verschoor’s stick. Succi had lost the ball completely. Verschoor quickly promoted the chance from close range to a goal: 1-0.
Matla made the 2-0 before halftime
The Estadi Olímpic exploded. Due to the loud cheers of the Dutch fans, the building now suddenly resembled the Wagener Stadium. Argentina still objected to the Dutch goal. It was a clumsy choice, because there was no question of holding off by Verschoor, the video referee ruled. With just under three quarters left to play hockey, Argentina lost the referral.
It was 2-0 before the break. It was a wonderful through pass from assist queen Laurien Leurink, between two Argentinian defenders, who initiated the goal. It was Leurink’s hawk eyes that saw Matla sprint away. Handily, Matla cut off the pass of the two defenders with the ball on her stick. Then she turned to her backhand and shot the ball against the ropes. It was Matla’s 75th goal in Orange in 104 international matches.
After the wonderful attack by the Netherlands from which Albers made the 3-0, the Argentines also managed to score. Gorzelany dragged the ball high into the net from a penalty corner at the start of the fourth quarter.
In contrast to the quarterfinals against Belgium, there was no panic in the Netherlands. Instead of a final offensive by the Argentines, the game was determined by the Orange who wanted to further expand the lead. The Netherlands failed to convert the sixth penalty corner of the match. At 11.12 pm the buzzer sounded and the Netherlands was again world champion.
Netherlands – Argentina 3-1 (2-0)
17. Maria Verschoor (sc) 1-0
24. Frederique Matla 2-0
37. Felice Albers 3-0
46. Agustina Gorzelany (sc) 3-1