Germany and Netherlands’ women flying high in Tokyo

Germany and the Netherlands have moved to the verge of qualification for the women’s Olympic quarter-finals with their second wins of their campaigns in Tokyo.

Germany made it a maximum six points from two games courtesy of a 2-0 victory over India. Captain Nike Lorenz put her side ahead with a well taken penalty corner effort in the 12th minute, with Club an der Alster’s Anne Schröder completing the scoring with a 35thminute field goal. Crucially, German goalkeeper Julia Sontag saved a penalty stroke onto the post when the score was at 1-0. 

Speaking about Sontag’s important contribution, Lisa Altenburg said: “It was really good. We had many, many good moments in this game. She was our best player I would say.”

The Netherlands, meanwhile, were too strong for Ireland, winning 4-0 as they eventually broke down the incredible resistance of goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran.

Amsterdam’s Felice Albers put the Dutch ahead in the eighth minute, but a brilliant goalkeeping performance from McFerran kept the Oranje out for the next 41 minutes. Eventually though, the pressure told, with Malou Pheninckx, Laurien Leurink and Frederique Matla all on target in the final quarter as the competition favourites strengthened their position at the top of the pool. 

“I’m just so proud”, said Netherlands captain Eva de Goede, commenting on the performance of her team.

“I think when you get into the team as a youngster, you just don’t know what to expect and you just play. Now, looking at the girls who are younger and really fitting into the team nicely, I think the level of playing and level is passing is so high. 

“I really love that we can play like that because I really do think that that’s one of our strengths and we can really outplay another team.”

Ireland goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran said: “Unfortunately today just wasn’t quite our day. We dug in well and I’m really proud of the defensive effort everyone put in. It was a team effort out there but that’s the Dutch for you.

“They’re just quite good, aren’t they? There’s several things we have to take and learn from it. We can’t just brush it under the carpet, but we have to move on.”

Elsewhere in this group, Great Britain bounced back to beat South Africa 4-1 having trailed in the early stages.

In Pool B, Australia lead the way with a 6-0 win over China putting them top ahead of New Zealand – 2-1 winners over Japan – on goal difference. Argentina got their first win, striking three times late on against Spain for a 3-0 win.