REPORT: Netherlands reach Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup Final

Netherlands World Cup 3
Lidewij Welten netted the winning penalty as the Netherland defeated Australia in a shootout and booked their place in the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup. 

Kelly Jonker put the Dutch ahead after 22 minutes and they held this lead until six minutes from time when Australia equalised through Georgina Morgan.

A dramatic shootout followed with Rachael Lynch continuing her heroics from normal time in goal but she couldn’t stop Welten who slotted home to win the shootout 3-1.

The Netherlands will play Ireland in the final tomorrow after they defeated Spain in another penalty shootout earlier in the day.

Captain Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel praised her opponent’s efforts after the match: “Australia played really well. Their keeper was amazing, their defenders were amazing and we had to give it all. I think they played a really good match. It was a close call.”

“We are the number one in the world and everybody is saying ‘You’re going to be amazing’, but we need to work really hard to play good as well.

"If you play at 95%, everybody can beat us. We have to be 100%, and if we are at 100% I trust my team and believe that we can win this.”

The first quarter was one dominated by penalty corners as both sides failed to produce any clear-cut chances from open play. Three back to back corners began the match but Jodie Kenny’s efforts were all halted by the Dutch defence.

Caia Van Maasakker went closest for the Netherlands from another penalty corner but her low drag-flick was easily kicked away by Lynch in the Australian goal.

After the quarter break the Dutch began to take more control of the contest and on 22 minutes moved into the lead. Marloes Keetels made a long run down the right reaching the byline, her cut back met the run of Jonker who slapped across goal and into the net.

There were good chances for the Netherlands to move further ahead but a fierce reverse stick strike from Welten and another from Eva de Goede were both stopped by Lynch before half-time.

After the break it was all about Lidewij Welten and Rachael Lynch in the Australia goal. Welten continued to work her way past, around and through the Australian defence but her flicked effort and another backhand strike were both saved by Lynch.

Australia had another penalty corner of their own but Kenny’s slap was blocked by the runner and the Dutch took their slender 1-0 lead into the final fifteen minutes.

With time running out the Aussies pushed for a leveller and were rewarded six minutes from time as Georgina Morgan scored with a powerful drag-flick low into the corner. The Dutch pressed for a winner but couldn’t make the breakthrough and the contest headed to a shootout.

Matla and Bates both went onto their reverse and scored before the goalkeepers began to steal the show. Lynch and Koning both saved from Van den Heuvel, Peris, Van Geffen and Nobbs.

De Waard then headed left and cut back to the right and fired past Lynch to put the Dutch ahead and Koning’s save again McMahon gave Welten the chance to send the Dutch through.

Welten headed towards goal and soon after engaging Lynch tucked the ball between her legs to score and book the Netherland’s place in the final.