Dutch women reach hockey final after shootout

The contest between the Netherlands and Germany had finished 1-1 and it took 14 shots to get a result in the shootout which ended 4-3, with Ellen Hoog drilling home the winner.

The Netherlands players celebrate victory over Germany in the womens semifinal match on Wednesday.   -  Getty Images

The Netherlands beat Germany in a sudden-death shootout on Wednesday to reach the final of the Olympic women's hockey tournament and keep the target of a third successive gold medal in its sights.

The contest had finished 1-1 and it took 14 shots to get a result in the shootout which ended 4-3, with Ellen Hoog drilling home the winner. The Netherlands, the dominant force in the sport, will meet New Zealand or Britain in the final.

Despite the result, some of the Dutch players were disappointed with their performance. “I don't know what I'm feeling right now, but I'm happy that we won this game in the end,” said Maartje Paumen, who scored the Dutch equaliser.

“Not really happy in the way we played today. We made it really difficult for ourselves, gave ourselves a lot of pressure. “We made it to the final now and the only thing we are here for is the gold medal. We have to play better than this game today.”

The Netherlands had the better of the first quarter, mounting a number of fast attacks, but Germany took a surprise lead in the 10th minute when the ball bounced free from a penalty corner and Lisa Schutze banged it in. The women in orange wasted no time in grabbing an equaliser in the first minute of the second quarter when Paumen took the set up from a penalty corner and drilled the ball home.

The team came close to taking the lead in the last five minutes of the quarter but German goalkeeper Nike Lorenz tipped another powerful shot from Paumen over the bar for the two sides to end the half level. The Netherlands piled on the pressure in the third quarter but could not break down a doughty German defence. Germany came close to scoring on the counter-attack in the last minute when Charlotte Stapenhorst cut into the circle on the right but her shot was blocked.

Kitty van Male nearly scored for the Netherlands with five minutes to go but shot too high to the dismay of the boisterous Dutch supporters, who made an orange block in the stand. The last few minutes saw the Netherlands besiege its opponents' goal area but the Germans held on for the match to go to a shootout.

Hoog scored the sudden-death winner following a string of misses after the teams were tied at 2-2 from the first five mandatory shots. “Of course I'm feeling great. We made it to the finals. They scored the first goal, but I never stopped trusting the team. It was not our best game, but maybe that's part of playing in the semi-final of the Olympics,” Hoog said.

On scoring the winning goal in the shoot-out, she said: "At first I had some doubts because I missed the first one, but I trust in my own shootouts so I thought, 'Well, I'm not going to miss it twice'.”

“The most feeling I think is relief. Just relief that we won today.”

The Germans took consolation from a battle well fought. “If we play like this we can beat any team in the world. On penalties, it is luck that decides and that was on the Dutch side today,” said captain Janne Muller Weiland.

Goalkeeper Lorenz, who made a number of good saves throughout the game, said she felt good going into the penalties. “But if you shoot out against the best in the world it is luck in the end but we can be very proud of the performance.”

The Netherlands took gold in London in 2012 and Beijing in 2008 and is also the world champion. The last time it lost in the Olympics was to Germany in the final in Athens in 2004.

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