Great Britain 0 (0)
Netherlands 1 (1)
Matla (13’, PS)
Great Britain’s women went down to a narrow defeat by The Netherlands in their fourth pool match of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
Frederique Matla’s first quarter penalty stroke was enough to separate the two teams in a closely fought encounter at the Oi Hockey Stadium.
Maddie Hinch made several crucial saves while Great Britain had chances of their own as they took the game to the current World and European champions.
The result means Great Britain currently sit third in the group; a point in their final group game would be enough to secure their passage into the last eight.
Having won three from three at the Games so far, the Dutch started firmly on the front foot as Marloes Keetels and Maria Verschoor forced Hinch into early saves.
Shona McCallin then produced a brilliant goal line block to keep out one corner before Hinch and Giselle Ansley combined to thwart a charging Lidewij Welten. The Great Britain goalkeeper then produced two more saves to deny Caia van Maasakker from corners.
There was nothing she could do to keep out Matla’s emphatic penalty stroke in the 13th minute though, awarded for a foul on Welten as she was winding up to shoot.
Lily Owsley then charged down another van Maasakker corner before Great Britain grew into the game in the final five minutes of the half, winning three corners of their own. But Josine Koning was on hand to deny Fiona Crackles and Ansley as The Netherlands took the lead heading into half-time.
They almost added a second moments into the second half as they won a corner but Hinch and McCallin combined to keep another effort out before Laurien Leurink’s snap shot whistled over the crossbar.
Hinch then produced arguably her best save of the day as she dived full length to stop Malou Pheninckx from close range.
Great Britain battled hard and gave the Dutch no time to play on the ball, forcing them into mistakes and turning the ball over regularly. However, despite the best efforts of the likes of Lily Owsley, Sarah Jones and Sarah Robertson, they were unable to force any clear-cut chances.
The Dutch had further attempts in the final quarter, with Owsley and Hinch on hand to block yet more corners, while in the dying moments the ball fell kindly to Crackles in the circle but she couldn’t get a clean connection on her shot.
After the game, captain Hollie Pearne-Webb said: "Overall, we've played four games so far and 75% of the time we’ve been really pleased with how we’ve played. I think, as we all know, games are won or lost at either end and the finer details on the day are where we need to sharpen up. We’ve been extremely disappointed to lose, we feel, almost six points [today and against Germany].
"In the first quarter we weren’t at it, but for the rest of the three quarters we certainly matched them. They’re the world’s number one side for a reason and are a very good side, but we had as many opportunities as them to come out with a point. I’m disappointed that we’ve missed out of those six points, but equally we can take huge amounts of confidence going into our next game against Ireland on Saturday.”
Head Coach Mark Hager told media after the game that Ellie Rayer suffered a broken nose in the game against the Dutch. She will be assessed further ahead of our next match on Saturday.
Great Britain’s last group game sees them take on Ireland at 12:45 BST on Saturday 31 July.
Starting XI: Hinch (GK), Unsworth, Toman, Jones, Townsend, Robertson, Rayer, Ansley, Pearne-Webb (C), McCallin, Owsley
Subs: Martin, Petter, Wilkinson, Crackles, Balsdon