Great Britain wins gold in shootout, ends Netherlands Olympic field hockey reign
There is a new gold medalist in women’s field hockey.
Great Britain claimed the gold medal after defeating the Netherlands 2-0 in a historic shootout win.
With time winding down and the pressure increasing, it was anybody’s game with the score tied at three all.
Great Britain’s Nicola White scored the game-tying goal on a rebound off of a penalty corner that would ultimately send the two teams into a shootout.
Maddie Hinch against Joyce Sombroek: Two of the best goalkeepers in the world, and the top two performers in this Olympic tournament.
"Goalkeeping has its highs and lows," Hinch said. "You can be the villain, but you can also be the hero for the moment. But for me today, that was a huge team effort. We knew the Dutch would have their moments. They are a fantastic side."
Both teams were scoreless two shots in until Sombroek committed a penalty. Helen Richardson-Walsh got the do-over penalty stroke that put Great Britain ahead 1-0.
Hinch put Great Britain in the position to win it on the final shot, and her teammate Hollie Webb scored the dagger that would end the dominant reign of the Netherlands, which was looking for its third consecutive gold medal in Rio.
It was a back-and-forth battle between these two through and through.
After Hinch blocked a penalty stroke from Maartje Paumen in the opening minutes of the game, Great Britain took advantage.
They jumped to an early lead when Sophie Bray took the ball right into the circle for a shot, and Lily Owsley scored off of the rebound.
Immediately into the second quarter, Kitty Van Male chipped a shot past Hinch to even the score. Paumen then found redemption from the blocked penalty stroke when she converted on a penalty corner to give the Dutch a 2-1 lead.
However, Great Britain replied with a Crista Cullen goal. She tied it up at two goals each heading into halftime.
Keeping with the mercurial nature of the game, the Netherlands went back up again after Van Male received the pass on a penalty corner and put it right into the cage. White would tie the game and send it into shootout where Great Britain would make history, winning its first ever gold medal.
"We did everything we needed to do," Netherlands coach Alyson Annan said. "I think we played a fantastic game. We dominated the whole game, and we played as we should have and as we wanted to. Tactically, we were strong. Technically, we were strong. Physically, mentally, we were the better team. That makes it much more disappointing."
Great Britain took home bronze four years ago in London, and the team only had its eyes on gold in Rio, made evident by its undefeated tournament record.
The Netherlands were the heavy favorites heading into the Olympic tournament. The Dutch had not lost an Olympic game since 2004 in the final of the Athens Games. They will claim the silver medal, making it the country’s eighth overall medal in women’s field hockey.
For full results of Friday's gold medal match, click here.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.