A brace from Kim Lammers and further strikes from Maartje Paumen and Xan de Waard swept the Netherlands into the final with a convincing victory over a tired looking Argentina side.
With star player Luciana Aymar sporting a heavy bandage on her hamstring, and clearly a long way from full fitness, Las Leonas were on the back foot from the start of the game and it stayed that way against a rampant Dutch side.
The signs were ominous for Carlos Retegui’s team from the first five minutes. Goalkeeper Belen Succi had to race from her line to make a good save keeping out Kelly Jonker who had broken free inside the D.
Argentina struggled to make it out of their own half in the first 15 minutes as they were forced to fend off wave after wave of Orange attacks. After ten minutes it was 1-0. De Waard latched onto a cutback inside the D and turned the defender before firing a low reverse stick shot past the goalkeeper. Paumen added a second from a penalty corner not long after, somehow finding a way to squeeze her drag flick past the defender and the goalkeeper and into the net.
It took Las Leonas until the 20th minute to muster a meaningful chance on goal but Carla Rebecchi’s deflection from Noel Barrionuevo’s pass went just wide.
Lammers notched her first of the match with 13 minutes to go before the break. She was brilliantly kept out 1v1 by Succi but the ball popped up and the No23 kept her cool to slot home the rebound past the despairing defender on the line. Rebecchi and Barrionuevo linked up again, but again the former’s deflection went wide without troubling Joyce Sombroek in goal.
There was no let up in the opening exchanges of the second half. Succi saved well from Lammers and then De Waard somehow stabbed wide with the goal gaping from close range. Succi kept out a penalty corner from Paumen and then at the other end Sombroek did likewise with an effort from Barrionueveo to preserve her incredible record of conceding just one goal in the competition.
With the Dutch stepping off the gas as the second half wore on, the chances eased off, even if their dominance did not. In the very last minute, Lammers added a fourth goal. Ellen Hoog broke down the left and her cross was expertly diverted home for the striker’s fourth goal of the competition.
An ecstatic Joyce Sombroek told The Top of the D: “We’re really happy. It was a convincing win as well, we played very well and our first goal was to get to the final, which we’ve done, but we haven’t won anything yet. We need to reach our second goal of picking up the gold medal. We can enjoy it but we need to recover and focus for the next game.
We’re defending very well. I didn’t have much to do today. A clean sheet is nice. It would be great to keep it that way and get another in the final, but we’re keeping our feet on the ground and we’ll be fighting for the next game.
Australia are a good team. We saw that in the pool game. We’ll prepare as well as we can to ensure we’re ready. It should be an exciting game with a lot of attractive hockey.”
The Dutch will line up against Australia in Saturday’s final whilst Argentina will have to rally to try and see off the USA in the bronze medal match.