The Netherlands vs. England
Match 31/Quarter Final
8.15 Push Back
Everybody has Holland down for this, but I’ve got two beers riding on an England victory with the Dutch media. England play in white vest tops and navy skorts for the first time in the tournament, Holland play in their traditional all orange kit.
England are forced very deep in the opening stages, with holland having a lot of possession. I suspect that this is going to be a pattern in this game. In the eight minute Kelly Jonker makes a mazy run into the circle, looking for a goal, but Maddie Hinch is firm and comes out to meet her; no dice with the best keeper in the world. The English still look to counter attack, with Elena Rayer making a couple of decent runs to the right hand baseline.
In the tenth minute a missed interception almost allows the Dutch into the English circle for a shot on goal, but it’s dealt with calmly. Soon after a short corner is given to Holland for a high clearance from Hinch. Caia van Maasakker shoots, but it comes back onto the pitch off the bar, Hinch saves the rebound and the third shot goes wide of the post. England counter attack, but the Dutch win the ball and come back at the English forcing Hinch to clear the ball off the pitch.
With a minute left of the match, the ball is played centrally to Xan de Waard near the top of the circle and then back out to the left again. Lidewij Welten runs onto the pass behind the English defence and slots into the far post. The Dutch take the lead going into the end of the first period. England need to start retaining the ball up front a bit better if they want to get back into the game.
England are holding on to the ball better, but are still losing the ball a bit too easily. Also, there doesn’t seem to be a high outlet for quick direct passes forward. In the ninth minute and another save by Maddie Hinch sees a scramble in front of her and Laura Unsworth gets the ball out. The hosts are really up against now. 26 minutes played, they have only had 2 circle entries, no shots and Maddie Hinch is behaving like an octopus.
With three minutes of the half remaining, Sophie Bray
plays the ball to Susannah Townsend, who looks for Alex Danson in the circle, but the England captain has her back to the goal and misses the first touch; the move breaks down. Another run down the left from Lidewij Welten sees the ball played into the circle and a shot. It’s blocked, but Holland get a long corner and retain possession. England eventually get it back but Townsend gives the ball away again. For all of their possession, Holland lead by one goal to nil, at half time.
The Dutch are first out, after the break, but both teams are out with time to spare. Within a minute of the start of the second half Lidewij Welten wins the ball in an advance position, plays it to the right, who now has a two versus one against Maddie Hinch. The pas is made to Laurien Leurink for an easy tap in. England now has a lot of work to do. Almost immediately, Susannah Townsend sends a ball across the Dutch circle, but it’s missed by everyone and goes out of play.
England are really struggling to find an outlet today. Sophie Bray just made a good block on the ball and then sits there, instead of moving forward. We need to be more attacking, or Holland will just keep going forward. In the twelfth minute, Alex Danson picks up the ball in a central area and plays it to Lily Owsley. There is a drive to the baseline and a centred ball, but again no connection in the vital area. At the end of the third quarter the Dutch lead by two goals to nil.
In the second minute of the final period, another ball is sent across the circle from the right for England but still no connection from a forward.Soon afterwards the English ask for a Dutch foot inside their own circle. No short corner and the team in white lose any further use of the video umpire. With a little over six minutes remaining Giselle Ansley puts on a yellow top and becomes a kicking back instead of having Maddie Hinch in goal. Lily Owsley has been good down the wing, but can’t seem to connect with her forwards. At full time it’s 2 – 0 to Holland. There has been only one shot on goal for England.