A great achievement, since almost all players of the play-off finalists Den Bosch and SCHC were missing from the Orange squad. Only striker Joosje Burg (Den Bosch) and goalkeeper Alexandra Heerbaart (SCHC) had traveled to East London.
Just like Ireen van den Assem, who had previously said goodbye to the Dutch national team after she had to miss the Olympic Games due to an injury. The defender came back from that decision this year and has set her sights on Paris 2024. The Brabant (32) won everything there is to win, including European and world champions, but the Olympic gold is still missing from her palmares.
Van den Assem, who promoted to the Dutch big league with her old club Tilburg after having played for Den Bosch for many years, is a welcome reinforcement for the Orange defense. You can also send the veteran a message at penalty corners: in the third quarter, Van den Assem flattened the equalizer past Maddie Hinch, after England had taken the lead in the opening phase via Elena Rayer.
The experienced Van den Assem is a player who knows how to keep a cool head during critical moments. This also applies to the third Dutch penalty corner, just like the second ‘passed’ by Felice Albers. This time Van den Assem opted for a variant and served Tessa Clasener who scored hard and high: 1-2.
That goal was enough for the win, although England were still close to the equalizer three seconds (!) before time, but Heerbaart saw the ball disappear over the goal. With that, the stain of Saturday’s soap was polished away. Tessa Beetsma (HDM) made her debut in the game, a day after Maria Steensma (Pinoké) had won her first cap.
It will be quite a job for interim national coach Jamilon Mülders to put together his World Cup selection. The Germans will have to crack hard nuts in the coming days, as the tournament for the number one in the world starts on July 2 with a game against Ireland. The game is a repeat of the World Cup final from four years ago, won by the Orange at the time by force majeure.
Golden The Good
Meanwhile, Eva de Goede, the big boss of the team that won gold in Tokyo, is working feverishly on her return. De Goede, 33 years old and two-time best player in the world, tore her anterior cruciate ligament in November. It seems almost a utopia that the three-time Olympic champion has recovered in time for the World Cup. But it’s not for nothing that Eva de Goede is Eva de Goede, a hockey star from another planet.
Perhaps the playmaker, good for 251 caps, mirrors herself to her teammate and ‘soulmate’ Lidewij Welten. The attacker suffered a serious hamstring injury just three months before the Olympic tournament, but recovered in record time thanks to intensive treatment to play all duels during Japan’s golden summer.
Time is running out for De Goede, though. In the meantime, her teammates will play four more Pro League matches in the run-up to the World Cup in Amstelveen and the Spanish Terrassa: two against Germany (June 11 and 12, Hamburg) and just as many against China (June 21 and 22, Rotterdam). Mülders can then continue to work on putting together his puzzle pieces for the World Cup. But in any case: Ireen van den Assem did excellent business in London.