FIH: Dutch delight for defending champions against Great Britain

The Netherlands Women’s team juggernaut rolls on as a late flurry buried Great Britain 5-1, before a winner in the final minute saw the Netherlands Men snatch a 2-1 victory in the penultimate day of the FIH Pro League mini tournament in Santiago del Estero.

Great Britain Women were right in the game until early in the last quarter but from there it was one way traffic as the Netherlands scored a further three times, two of those goals coming from the stick of Joosje Burg in as many minutes.

In the men’s match, a dramatic late save from Netherlands goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak allowed Joep Troost to score a dramatic late winner in just his second senior international appearance as the Dutch reversed their loss to Great Britain on Match Day 2.

(Women’s) Netherlands v Great Britain 5-1

Determined not to have a repeat of the 8-0 drubbing they suffered against the Netherlands three days earlier, Great Britain put in an improved showing only for the scoreboard to blow out late on.

The defending champions were again dominant and could possibly have won by more if not for a stellar performance from Great Britain goalkeeper Sabbie Heesh.

The Netherlands, who had scored 12 goals in their two games coming into this contest, went ahead in the 10th minute when Frederique Matla had too much time and space in the circle allowing her to crack a tomahawk past Heesh.

Great Britain were connecting with more effectiveness than their previous outing as they looked to cause the Netherlands defence trouble. However, Seesh was the busier of the two goalkeepers as she was required to keep out two Matla drag flicks and then a well struck shot from Freeke Moes in the 25th minute.

Great Britain had a couple of forays into their attacking circle late in the first half without reward.

The Netherlands’ lead was doubled in the 37th minute through an unfamiliar source as Sanne Koolen, in her 97th appearance, slapped a powerful shot from a penalty corner inside Heesh’s left hand post for her maiden international goal.

Urged on by coach David Ralph for one huge final quarter effort, Great Britain pegged a goal back in the 47th minute when Elena Reyer wheeled around Rosa Fernig with pace into the circle before squaring the ball near the top of the D where Isabelle Petter controlled and fired her inch-perfect shot past the outstretched leg of Netherlands goalkeeper Anne Veenendaal.

However, any thought of a Great Britain revival were immediately extinguished as Burg struck within 60 seconds and again a minute later. Burg snuck a shot from an acute angle inside the smallest of gaps left by Heesh at the near post for her first before rocketing a screamer into the top corner for her double. A one goal margin was suddenly three in the blink of an eye.

Maria Steensma notched up the Netherlands’ fifth with her maiden international goal to round off the scoring as the Dutch made it three from three ahead of their final match of the mini tournament against Argentina tomorrow.

“The first half was not good enough. The second half was better, we scored some nice goals…it was better teamwork and more polished so much better than the first half,” said Burg who was named Player of the Match.

(Men’s) Netherlands v Great Britain 2-1

Great Britain were on the front foot early against the Netherlands, a Nicholas Bandurak drag flick thundering into the chest of Blaak with Jack Waller unable to connect on the rebound.

There was drama with a minute left in the first quarter when Joep de Mol appeared to get the better of James Albery as he scooted into the circle, the umpire whistling for a penalty stroke as it appeared the Great Britain had pushed de Mol who lost his footing. However, the decision was overturned by the video umpire upon review.

Despite plenty of end to end action there were no goals in the opening half. Bandurak had another drag flick well saved by Blaak to start the third quarter before the Netherlands started to arrest the momentum in their favour.

Successive penalty corners from Jip Janssen were unsuccessful as it was going to take something special to break the deadlock. Enter Terrance Pieters. The Player of the Match in the win over Argentina expertly angled his stick to meet a drag flick from Janssen, sending the ball into the roof of the net giving Great Britain goalkeeper Oliver Payne no chance in the 47th minute.

There would still be plenty of twists and turns as Great Britain levelled it up 90 seconds into the last quarter. The lively Phil Roper forced some panic among the Netherlands defence in the circle, the ball falling out to Rupert Shipperley who hammered his shot in and Sam Ward was on the far post to glance it home.

Great Britain were aided when Floris Middendorp was shown a yellow card for an infringement on Ward, leaving the Netherlands with one less player for five minutes.

However, the Dutch managed their way through their predicament before they produced a remarkable last 60 seconds of the match to win it.

Blaak pulled off a brilliant save to prevent Great Britain sealing it, his heroics triggering a lightning counterattack that ended with Troost who came up with a finish of a seasoned veteran as he hammered a tomahawk into the bottom corner from the angle to make it 2-1.

“I’m really proud of the team. It was a tough game for us, our third and fourth quarters were ok and we scored an excellent goal – the first for Joep Troost – so it was a great team performance,” said Blaak who was named Player of the Match.

To see the current standings in the FIH Hockey Pro League, click here.

FIH Pro League – 10 December 2023

Santiago del Estero (ARG)

Result: Women’s Match 5

Netherlands 5-1 Great Britain

Player of the Match: Joosje Burg (NED)

Umpires: German Montes de Oca (ARG), Jonathan Altamirano (ARG), Ayanna McClean (TTO-video)


Result: Men’s Match 5

Netherlands 2-1 Great Britain

Player of the Match: Pirmin Blaak (NED)

Umpires: Gabriel Labate (ARG), Irene Presenqui (ARG), Federico Silva (ARG-video)


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