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Netherlands survive Australian fightback

August 4, 2018

Netherlands and Australia both entered their semi-final encounter undefeated with the world number one side, The Netherlands, sailing serenely through, scoring 28 goals and conceding just two. Australia (WR:5), by contrast, had won only one match in regulation time and their quarter-final match against Argentina had been won on shoot out.

But Australia are a team that will always rise to the occasion and so it proved this time. Under the cosh for much of the middle of the game, Australia have their goalkeeper Rachael Lynch to thank for the fact they were still in contention when, seven minutes from time, Georgina Morgan scored her first penalty corner goal of the competition, to send the match to shoot out. With the Netherlands looking a little rattled, the crowd sensed an upset might be on the cards, particularly with Lynch in such fine form.

Unfortunately for Australia, Lynch might have been in form, but at this event, the Netherlands are unstoppable and so it proved again as Lidewij Welten dealt the killer blow to take her team to a final against the world 16 side Ireland.

As the match got under way, three penalty corners in the opening five minutes of the game was the sign that the Hockeyroos had no intention of letting the Netherlands dominate this match in the same way they had all their previous games.

Unfortunately for Paul Gaudoin's side, Jodie Kenny's fearsome penalty corner strike was slightly below par and the Netherlands defence was let off the hook. As the quarter progressed, so the Netherlands began to take the upper hand and put their opponents under increasing pressure. This was rewarded when Kelly Jonker was able to slam the ball home after some great work by Lidewij Welten to first get round the defence and then to find her team mate.

"Our performance tonight is not good enough to win the World Cup" Alyson Annan

The Netherlands also had a number of penalty corner opportunities, but Caia van Maasakker's shots were all well dealt with by Rachael Lynch who, despite conceding a goal, was having a great game in the Australian goal.

The second half saw a much more even split of pressure with the Netherlands unable to extend their lead but the Hockeyroos just not able to deal a killer blow.

The equaliser eventually came with just seven minutes left on the clock. Paul Gaudoin's team had come out for the final 15 minutes with a renewed energy and suddenly the Dutch began to look a little shaky. Emily Hurtz was the first to rattle the Oranje although her final shot was easily dealt with by Josine Koning, who had replaced Anne Veenendaal in the Netherlands goal.

The breakthrough came when Georgina Morgan stepped up and shot home with pinpoint precision after an excellent speedy injection by Kathryn Slattery. Lidewij Welten had a chance to make it 2-1 but, unusually for the striker, she shot wildly over the top.

In the ensuing shoot out, Frederique Matla, Xan de Waard and Welten were all on target, while only Kristina Bates was able to score for Australia.

The result means Australia will play Spain for the bronze medal, while Netherlands take on Ireland.

"The Australia goalkeeper was very good but we should have finished it in the match, we created enough chances," said Lidewij Welten.

Her coach agreed: "We weren't good enough in the circle," said Alyson Annan. "We have had to work hard to score goals in the quarter finals and semi finals but that is right.

"I just try to give the players the information to be able to play the game but our performance tonight is not good enough to win the World Cup," she added.

HWC2018

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