Dutch women’s hockey headed to World Cup final after defeating Australia
The Dutch hockey players have qualified for the final of the women’s Hockey World Cup. The reigning world champions were too strong for Australia, winning 1-0 in Terrassa, Spain, on Saturday night. Frédérique Matla scored the only goal in the final phase of the third quarter with a hard effort from a penalty corner. The Dutch hockey players will face Argentina in the World Cup final on Sunday at 9:30 p.m.
It was only the third goal of the tournament for the 25-year-old, who had not yet managed to stand out from the crowd during this World Cup. She accurately knocked the ball across the goal line twice in the opening game against Ireland, but failed to score in the following three games.
In the first half, chances were few far between, and goalkeeper Anne Veenendaal did not see any action. In the second half, the Oranje squad was close to securing a goal several times off penalty corners, but Australian goalkeeper Jocelyn Bartram was in the right place each time. There were no great opportunities, partly due to the Australian team's defensive tactics.
After ten penalty corners had not resulted in a goal, Matla decided to give it a try. With a push that just got off the ground, she managed to surprise Bartram. The title-holders were delighted. In the last quarter, the Netherlands did not run into any problems, yet interim national coach Jamilon Mülders breathed a sigh of relief after full time was called.
"It was a difficult game and also tough, because it was a fair bit warmer than in the Netherlands. We fought really well as a team and I also think we got a boost from playing in a semi-final,” said Sanne Koolen to Ziggo Sports after the match. "Defensively, we did very well and we gave little away. I'm glad we scored that one goal."
For the Netherlands, it was the first game of this World Cup on foreign soil. The three group matches and the quarterfinals were played in the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen. Australia had been playing in Spain for a long time, where it was considerably warmer than in Amstelveen.
"We come for this and only the result matters,” said Malta after the close victory. “It was a tough game. We've had enough corners and it's nice that one flew in," she continued. "We needed that goal to get a little more confidence. We kept trying to find a gap and I'm glad that was enough."
Goalkeeper Anne Veenendaal is not expected to start in the final against Argentina, when Josine Koning returns to play. The Argentinian team defeated Germany (4-2) in Terrassa after a shoot-out, with the score after regular time having been 2-2.
Germany took the lead in the first minute thanks to Hanna Granitzki, who capitalized on a penalty corner. Agustina Gorzelany equalized after fifteen minutes, and Agustina Albertario gave Argentina the lead in the second quarter. Charlotte Stapenhorst forced the shoot-out by bringing Germany level.
Four years ago, Australia knocked out Argentina during a quarter-final match at the World Cup in London. Oranje then knocked out Australia in a semi-final shoot-out after the score line read 1-1 at the end of regulation time. In the final, the Netherlands took the championship with a 6-0 victory over Ireland.
This year’s final will be broadcast on Ziggo Sport with programming beginning at 9 p.m. The third-place match between Australia and Germany will also show on the channel, with coverage starting at 6 p.m.
Reporting by ANP and NL Times