- Great Britain beat Netherlands to win the Olympic Gold medal
- Teams could not be separated in normal time, drawing 3-3
- Goals from Lily Owsley, Crista Cullen and Nicola White cancelled out double from Kitty Van Male and strike from Maartje Paumen
- Great Britain seal 2-0 shootout victory to take the gold medal
- Men’s World League Semi-Final set to come to London in 2017, Women’s World Cup in 2018
Great Britain’s women made history with their first-ever Olympic gold medal after beating the Netherlands 2-0 on shootout. The teams had traded goals in a pulsating 3-3 draw but with the pressure on in the shootout Hollie Webb held her nerve to slot home the winner, sparking jubilant scenes for Danny Kerry’s side and their passionate travelling army of fans.
In an action-packed match the Netherlands could have gone ahead in the seventh minute, as they were awarded a penalty stroke. The fearless Maddie Hinch stood firm and guessed right, repelling Maartje Paumen’s shot with her gloves.
Two minutes later the Dutch were made to rue that miss as Sophie Bray carved open the defence with some sublime individual skills. Although Joyce Sombroek saved the initial shot Lily Owsley pounced to slot home the opener. Paumen tried her luck from a penalty corner just before the break but the goalkeeper saved well from the Oranje skipper.
The second quarter got off to the worst possible start for Danny Kerry’s side. Kitty Van Male was set free by Lideweij Welten and produced a fine finish to level the scores. Hinch and the defence were under immense pressure but despite the scare of a Naomi Van As thunderbolt coming back off the bar they stood firm.
Six minutes before the break, Paumen took an alternative route to goal and managed to beat Hinch with a low shot from a penalty corner. The lead lasted just moments. The passion and power of Danny Kerry’s warriors levelled the contest. Giselle Ansley’s pass into the circle broke to Crista Cullen who slammed the ball past Sombroek for her 58th international goal.
Caia Van Maasakker tested the Great Britain defence from two penalty corners but as before, Danny Kerry’s team defended like lions and kept Alyson Annan’s side at bay. On 37 minutes the Oranje pressure finally paid off with a well worked set piece allowing Van Male to grab her second. The defence creaked under pressure but some courageous play by Laura Unsworth held the orange tide at bay.
The final quarter was charged with tension and drama and after some superb teamwork between the GB forwards, Danny Kerry’s team forced their first penalty corner. The slip move found Unsworth whose pass was half blocked but Nicola White showed terrific awareness to pounce and slot home the equaliser. The determination of Kerry’s side ensured there were no more goals and it was time for a shootout.
The first two for each side were saved as Hinch and Sombroek showed why they are regarded as two of the best around. Laurien Leurink was denied by an incredible save from Hinch and then Bray was brought down by the goalkeeper on the next, resulting in a penalty stroke. Despite the noise from the Dutch fans Helen Richardson-Walsh showed nerves of steel to fire home. A further miss apiece for each side meant it was down to Webb to win it, which she duly did for the brave Great Britain side.
Danny Kerry, Great Britain Coach:
“We know we’re good at shootouts. We have some tough competitors and probably the best goalie in the world in shootouts. As soon as it went there I knew we would win.”
“Today we had to defend, we had to dig trenches, but we changed things in the last quarter and it paid off.
“Eight of the group are multiple Olympians and we needed that experience today.”
Maddie Hinch, Great Britain goalkeeper:
“That was a huge team effort. The Dutch are a fantastic side. We definitely back ourselves in the shootout. Goalkeeping has its highs and lows. You can be a villain, but you can also be a hero in the moment.”
“It helped that the Dutch had a shootout in their semi-final, so that gave me a chance to see what they do, but I basically give myself a game plan for each player and I execute that and thankfully it worked. Thankfully the Dutch did what I thought they would do.”
“3-3, what a great advert for hockey. That’s what we want to do, showcase our sport and I’m so pleased it was a good game.”
Nicola White, Great Britain forward said:
“This is what we dreamed of and now we’ve got it. No-one can ever take that away from us.”
“We’ve now gone unbeaten through an Olympic tournament, which is unreal. It’s the first time we’ve been to the final, so for us we’re over the moon.
“We always knew it was going to be very close but physically we stuck to it. We really put the legwork in to try and get them on the counter and get up the pitch.”
Great Britain 3 (2)
Lily Owsley 9 (FG)
Crista Cullen 26 (FG)
Nicola White 52 (PC)
Netherlands 3 (2)
Kitty Van Male 16, 37 (FG PC)
Maartje Paumen 24 (PC)
Great Britain win 2-0 on shootout
Great Britain team vs. Netherlands
|Laura Unsworth||East Grinstead|
|Crista Cullen||No Club|
|Hannah Macleod||St Albans|
|Sophie Bray||East Grinstead|
|Lily Owsley||University of Birmingham|
Report courtesy of England & GB Hockey