England’s hopes of winning the Vitality Hockey World Cup were ended by the top ranked country in the world, the Netherlands at the Quarter Final stage in front of yet another capacity crowd at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on Friday night.
The Netherlands had beaten Korea 7-0, China 7-1 and Italy 12-1 on their way to topping Pool A and automatic qualification to the last eight but England restricted them to a 2-0 win.
There had been some pre-match publicity when Dutch captain Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel had claimed that England played like headless chickens, but Surbiton’s Hannah Martin tried to run the Dutch defence ragged with excellent possession skills.
The Netherlands came close to taking the lead in the eleventh minute from the only penalty corner of the match, Caia van Maasakker striking the crossbar with England goalkeeper, Maddie Hinch kicking away the rebound.
But England did fall behind three minutes later, Xan De Waard slipping the ball through for Lidewij Welten to score.
England failed to muster a single shot on target in the first half and the only shot of the third quarter fell to the Dutch, who took advantage of a defensive error to form a breakaway attack, Laurien Leurink smashing the ball into the netting at the left post to double the Netherlands’ lead.
The hosts did finally muster a shot on target in the fourth quarter and took off Maddie Hinch and elected to use Surbiton’s Giselle Ansley as a kicking back for the last 6 minutes and 17 seconds, but it is the Netherlands who will play Australia in the semi-finals. Kitty van Male did hit the ball against the English backboard but the final hooter had sounded seconds before.
Surbiton’s Sarah Haycroft, Ansley and Hollie Pearne-Webb were all in the England starting lineup with Hannah Martin coming on as a fourth minute substitute and Jo Hunter coming on six minutes later.
Looking back at the whole tournament, Pearne-Webb said, “I think we had quite a good tournament. It was disappointing not to win our first two games as if we had we probably would have got to the final. We need to learn from this experience for the future.”
More information about the tournament can be found at the FIH website