Netherlands 4-0 Ireland
Ireland’s women fell to a 4-0 defeat to the Netherlands in their EuroHockey Championships opener as three first-half goals paved the way for a home win in front of a raucous home crowd at the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen.
A double from Laurien Leurink along with goals from Caia van Maasakker and Frédérique Matla did the damage for the world number ones – who have lost just once in their last 100 fixtures and are reigning World, Euro and Pro League champions – showed their class in spades.
Inside 45 seconds, Margot van Geffen had fired the first warning shot but the Green Army responded quickly. Some sweet interplay at the head of the D saw Katie Mullan pick out Anna O’Flanagan and but for the faceguard of goalkeeper Josine Koning, Ireland would have had a shock lead in a rematch of the 2018 World Cup final.
The Dutch, however, capitalised on a loose defensive clearance in the ninth minute as Laura Nunnink pinched possession and drew a penalty stroke from Roisin Upton. Van Maasakker, in her 200th appearance, netted from the spot.
Moments later, Leurink got on the end of Felice Albers’ pull-back from the right and Ireland were two behind.
Netherlands 2-0 Ireland - Laurien Leurink doubles the Netherlands' lead with a neat finish after a fine baseline run from Keetels. pic.twitter.com/aXap83wlgI— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) June 5, 2021
Ayeisha McFerran’s big boot limited the damage from a couple of Dutch corners but she could not keep out Frédérique Matla’s powerful corner as the hosts extended their lead to 3-0 by half-time.
Netherlands 3-0 Ireland - Matla makes it three for the Dutch with a well taken goal from a penalty corner. pic.twitter.com/TGicASQHw4— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) June 5, 2021
The scoreline was compounded by a nasty head injury sustained by Lizzie Holden but she was thankfully able to take her place in the stands after being withdrawn from action.
Ireland were more compact in the third quarter with Hannah Matthews picking off numerous defensive interventions and McFerran sharp between the posts.
Netherlands 4-0 Ireland - The Dutch take advantage of poor defending to add another goal. pic.twitter.com/QE7PEsM26Q— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) June 5, 2021
The fourth goal, though, did arrive with Leurink credited with the last touch after a goalmouth scramble. Ireland wanted to call for a video but the umpires deemed the request too late and so it was not referred upstairs.
Ireland are back in action on Monday at 11.30am (Irish time) against Scotland before finishing their group on Wednesday against Spain.
A 4-0 defeat for Ireland against the Netherlands and while it may not initially appear so, there are some positives to take from the defeat. pic.twitter.com/uG0qw2IgAW— RTÉ Sport (@RTEsport) June 5, 2021
Netherlands: J Koning, M Pheninckx, L Leurink, M Keetels, C van Maasakker, F Matla, P Sanders, L Stam, M van Geffen, E de Goede, F Albers
Subs: S Koolen, M Verschoor, L Nunnink, S van Gils, I Kappelle, P Dicke, A Veenendaal
Ireland: A McFerran, R Upton, N Evans, K Mullan, S McCay, L Tice, N Carroll, H McLoughlin, L Holden, S Hawkshaw, A O’Flanagan
Subs: M Carey, M Frazer, C Watkins, N Daly, H Matthews, D Duke, L Murphy
Umpires: L Delforge (BEL), S Bockelmann (GER)