Netherlands hit super six against China

The first half of the match between China and Netherlands was all about the Netherlands as they romped to a 3-0 lead. China were far less solid in defence compared to the previous day and they added to the pressure by repeatedly losing possession, often in their own defensive quarter. 

Netherlands also received a boost with the return to action for Eva de Goede after a lengthy lay-off for a knee injury. 

The opening goal was scored by Maria Verschoor, adding to her goal from the previous day. That was followed just three minutes later when Felice Albers picked up the ball on the Netherlands’ defensive 25 and then ran the length of the pitch before firing past Li Xinhuan who was starting in the China goal.

Frederique Matla scored the next three goals. The first was a fierce penalty corner in the second half and then the tall striker sent two beautifully taken penalty strokes into the goal at the start of the third quarter.

The pressure from the Dutch was unrelenting for the remainder of the third quarter. Only some great running at penalty corners by Li Hong prevented a stream of goals. Just before the final break China’s woes were increased when the goalkeeper made the decision to try to challenge Lidewij Welten outside the circle. Welten inevitably nicked the ball, before rounding the stranded ‘keeper and scoring an easy goal.

There will be some scant consolation for Head Coach Alyson Annan and her team as China managed to keep the score sheet clean in the final 15 minutes. Before the match the Head Coach spoke about the fact that there were five new players in the team and this was very much a learning experience.

Player of the Match Felice Albers (NED) said: ‘It was a great performance, we scored some nice goals. We discussed about defending on the right and we did that well today. Eva de Goede is a great player and we are very happy that she is back.’

The result means Netherlands finish second in the FIH Pro League, eight points ahead of India. China remain in eighth place with two matches left to play – against Germany.