Olympic Games – Semi-Final
Netherlands 5 Great Britain 1
Great Britain’s defence of their Olympic title was ended in emphatic fashion by the Netherlands at the Oi Hockey Stadium as they suffered their heaviest defeat against the World No. 1 since November 2018 when they lost 4-0 at the Champions Trophy in Changzhou.
Having narrowly lost 1-0 when the teams met in Pool A earlier in the tournament, Great Britain were confident going into the match, but after a scoreless first quarter, two goals in a minute set the Netherlands on their way to the Gold Medal match and spoiled Shona McCallin’s 100th international appearance.
India will stand between Great Britain and the Bronze medal at 0230 BST on 6 August after Argentina came from behind to win 2-1 in the second semi-final and earn a final berth against the Dutch. India lost 4-1 when the teams met earlier in the tournament.
Great Britain put the Dutch defence under early pressure, but it was the Netherlands who threatened first, a bobbled mis-trap ruining their first penalty corner routine and setting up a counter attack from Hannah Martin.
Maddie Hinch, the heroine in Great Britain’s quarter-final win over Spain, was forced into a sixth minute save after Maria Verschoor won possession in the circle and instantly shot towards goal.
Great Britain won their first penalty corner in the 10th minute, but a worked routine involving Grace Balsdon and Anna Toman came to nothing.
The last twelve seconds of the quarter were dramatic as the Netherlands were initially awarded a penalty stroke from their second penalty corner after Eva de Goede’s shot was blocked by McCallin directly in front of goal, but a video referral confirmed that Hinch was immediately behind McCallin, downgrading the decision to a second penalty corner. Frédérique Matla fired wide to leave both teams level going into the second quarter.
The 19th minute was decisive as the Netherlands struck twice to loosen Great Britain’s grip on their title. First, Felice Albers beat Hinch from the left of the circle from a slick Dutch attack and then Marloes Keetels scored from the centre of the circle to leave Hinch shell-shocked and Great Britain with work to do.
The game was all but won when Verschoor deflected Caia van Maasakker’s penalty corner drag-flick, two minutes into the third quarter. Six minutes later it was game over as Albers deflected the ball into the roof of the net from close range to give the Netherlands a four goal advantage they were never going to give up.
Great Britain’s consolation goal came in the 41st minute when Giselle Ansley’s drag-flick eluded Josine Koning after a slight deflection off a Dutch defender. Matla finished the Dutch masterclass with a penalty corner conversion in the 49th minute, Hinch trying to save, but unable to prevent the ball going behind her and bouncing over the goal-line.
Verschoor’s yellow card with ten minutes to play made little difference as Great Britain were unable to get any closer from two penalty corner opportunities in the last seven minutes: Ansley narrowly missing the target from the first and a backstick offence finally putting paid to any faint hopes Great Britain had a miraculous comeback.
Scorers: Felice Albers 19-F, 38-F; Marloes Keetels 19-F, Maria Verschoor 32-PC, Frédérique Matla 49-PC
Starters: Xan de Waard, Marloes Keetels, Maria Verschoor, Lidewij Welten, Caia van Maasakker, Frédérique Matla, Pien Sanders, Lauren Stam, Josine Koning (GK), Margot van Geffen, Eva de Goede (Capt.)
Subs: Malou Pheninckx (3 mins), Laurien Leurink (3), Sanne Koolen (5), Felice Albers (5), Laura Nunnink (5).
Cards: Green: Margot van Geffen (13 mins), Pien Sanders (35 mins), Lidewij Welten (58 mins).
Yellow: Maria Verschoor (50 mins).
Scorer: Giselle Ansley 41-PC
Starters: Maddie Hinch (GK); Laura Unsworth, Anna Toman, Sarah Jones, Susannah Townsend, Sarah Robertson, Ellie Rayer, Giselle Ansley, Hollie Pearne-Webb (Capt.), Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley.
Subs: Hannah Martin (3 mins), Izzy Petter (3), Leah Wilkinson (4), Fiona Crackles (4), Grace Balsdon (4).
Card: Green: Shona McCallin (22 mins).
Umpires: Michelle Joubert (RSA) and Laurine Delforge (BEL)