There is no end to the success series of the Orange Ladies. The victory in the European Championship final against Germany on Sunday (2-0) meant the eighth (!) international title in a row for the team of national coach Alyson Annan. With this, the Dutch women have equaled a world record.
The victory march of the Orange Women started after the lost Olympic final of Rio in 2016 (defeat after shoot-outs against Great Britain). As a warm-up for the real thing, the semi-final round of the Hockey World League was won in Brussels. We can’t officially count that as the main prize since it wasn’t a final tournament yet. The European Championship 2017 in our own country was, and from that moment on there was no stopping it.
The Orange squad then also won the final tournament of the Hockey World League in New Zealand in 2017, captured the world title in London a year later and also won the very last edition of the Champions Trophy in China in 2018. In 2019 there was the win in the first edition of the FIH Pro League, followed by a new European title in Antwerp.
Last month, the Orange squad was officially crowned the winner of the second season of the Pro League, which was divided between 2020 and this year. The third European title, won today in the Wagener Stadium, is the eighth top prize in a row.
In Australia’s Footsteps
Internationally, there is only one country that has ever recorded a comparable series of tournament victories: Australia in which Alyson Annan played a leading role as a top player. The Hockeyroos won eight awards in a row between 1993 and 1999: four Champions Trophys, two World Cups, one Olympic Games and the Oceania Cup. Australia also won the 1998 Commonwealth Games in Kuala Lumpur in that series, but that is a tournament that is not open to all countries.
Annan scored goals in that period and was seen as one of the greatest goal getters of her generation. She is still Australia’s all-time top scorer with 166 goals in 228 international matches. It is not without reason that she was named World Player of the Year by the FIH in 1998 and 2000.
The Orange Women have been the number one in the world ranking for years, but have now also equaled Australia’s legendary record. For example, Annan played a major role in the two longest periods of success in international women’s hockey.
62 games, 58 wins
If we take a closer look at the figures of the Orange Ladies on those eight tournaments that have been won, the dominance drops off. It must be scary for most of the other teams. Including today’s final, the Netherlands played 62 competitive games, of which 55 were won after regular time and three after shoot-outs.
Furthermore, two matches ended in a draw (the first two group matches of the European Championship 2019) and the Orange only lost two (!) tournament matches: those were the Pro League matches with Australia in 2019 (1-0) and with Argentina in 2020 (2 -0).
In total, there were 252 goals in the 62 games of the Orange in title tournaments and in the Pro League: 221 from the Netherlands and 31 from the opponents. Frédérique Matla is the top scorer of Orange in those matches with 35 goals. Since she also prepared sixteen goals, she can call herself MVP under Annan: she was directly involved in 51 hits in the 52 international matches in those eight tournaments.