The Netherlands came out top in a sudden death shootout against Germany on Wednesday to go into the final of the Olympic women’s hockey tournament and keep the target of a third successive gold medal in their sights.
The shootout ended 4-3 after normal time of the tight contest finished at 1-1. It took 14 shots to get the result. The Netherlands will meet New Zealand or Britain in the final.
The Netherlands had the better of the first quarter, mounting a number of fast attacks, but Germany took a surprise lead in the 10th minute when the ball bounced free from a penalty corner and Lisa Schutze banged it in.
The women in orange wasted no time in grabbing an equaliser in the first minute of the second quarter when Maartje Paumen took the set up from a penalty corner and drilled the ball home.
They came close to taking the lead in the last five minutes of the quarter but German goalkeeper Nike Lorenz tipped another powerful shot from Paumen over the bar for the two sides to end the half level.
The Netherlands, playing with great flair, piled on the pressure in the third quarter but could not break down a doughty German defence. Germany came close to scoring on the counter-attack in the last minute when Charlotte Stapenhorst cut into the circle on the right but her shot was blocked.
Kitty van Male nearly scored for the Netherlands with five minutes to go but shot too high to the dismay of the boisterous Dutch supporters, who made an orange block in the stand.
The last few minutes saw the Netherlands besiege their opponents’ goal area but the Germans held on for the match to go to a shootout.
The dominant force in women’s hockey, the Netherlands took gold in London in 2012 and Beijing in 2008 and are also world champions.