The Netherlands, reigning World, European and FIH Hockey Pro League champions, added the Olympic gold medal to their kitty thanks to a 3-1 victory over Argentina, bringing to close a wonderful hockey competition at the Tokyo Olympic Games on Friday.
The win gave the Netherlands their fourth Olympic crown, with the 2020 gold medal being added to those collected at Los Angeles 1984, Beijing 2008 and London 2012.
It is a fitting reward for a Netherlands side that has been the dominant force in women’s international hockey for the past five years, with the team coached by Alyson Annan – herself a double Olympic hockey gold medallist with Australia – absolutely justifying their position as pre-competition favourites.
Argentina made life incredibly difficult for the Netherlands in the first period, although Caia van Maasakker came close to opening the scoring when her penalty corner drag-flick rattled the Argentine crossbar.
The second quarter was decisive, with the Oranje opening up a three-goal lead that would prove too great a mountain for Las Leonas to climb.
Caia van Maasakker struck two unstoppable penalty corner drag-flicks while Margot van Geffen scored a goal to give the Dutch a commanding lead.
However, Argentina hit back almost immediately when Agustina Gorzelany’s powerful penalty corner drag-flick squeezed between the legs of Netherlands goalkeeper Josine Koning, giving the South American giants a lifeline going into the final 30 minutes.
Argentina battled hard for more goals but found the Dutch defence too strong.
“It’s amazing – I’m a bit speechless, I’m sorry, I just can’t believe that we actually did it,” Netherlands captain Eva de Goede told the FIH after the match.
“We worked so hard for it, just like every other team. My fourth Olympics, fourth time in the final, and to win my third gold medal is just something that you not even dare to dream of.
“And I’m so happy that after five years ago when we won the silver medal that I can give this gold medal now to the team, to the girls who won the silver there. It’s just the best feeling ever.”
Earlier in the day, Great Britain’s women secured their third successive Olympic medal by edging India 4-3 in a hugely entertaining bronze medal match.
It is Great Britain’s fourth Olympic medal, having also won at Barcelona 1992 with a 4-3 victory against Korea.