The Netherlands will play in the women’s Olympic hockey finals for a fifth straight time at the Tokyo Games after notching up an inspiring 5-1 triumph over 2016 Rio Olympic champions Britain on Wednesday. The Netherlands took the lead in the first half when Laurien Leurink outsmarted her opponent and her pass reached 21-year-old forward Felice Albers who scored by shooting the ball through the legs of British goalie Madeleine Hinch.
The Netherlands, who won silver at the 2016 Rio Games after taking home the top prize twice in a row at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics, doubled the score less than a minute later through a powerful shot by Marloes Keetels. “We’re executing everything that was agreed on with the team,” Keetels said. Besides scoring herself, she played a key role in the first goal by getting the ball to Leurink with a long pass.
“We trained for five years on being able to score many goals … I think that’s paying off now.” The Netherlands had already scored 21 goals before starting the semi-finals while conceding only two goals in their previous matches in the tournament.
After the halftime break, the Netherlands extended their lead to 4-0 thanks to goals by Maria Verschoor and Albers. Britain had beaten the Dutch side through a penalty shootout in the final of the 2016 Rio Games that got them the gold medal.
In Tokyo, the gap between the two sides was too large for Britain to overcome, though they got a goal back when Giselle Ansley flicked in a penalty corner. “Absolutely gutted,” Ansley said, adding the first quarter was really tight between the two sides.
“I think we had a couple of lapses in the second quarter early on which gave them two pretty easy goals, which was a bit disappointing. “But we never stopped believing the whole way through.”
Frederique Matla scored the last goal from a penalty corner to settle the final score for the Netherlands, who will play either Argentina or India in the finals on Friday.