National coach Alyson Annan hopes that Dutch hockey players will be able to set up quickly after the dramatic start of the European Championship. The Orange squad also played the second group match with Spain on Monday-evening (1-1), despite the numerous chances.
"We are of course disappointed that we did not score anymore," Annan said in conversation with Hockey.nl in Antwerp. "We are not used to that and we are aware of that. It is an internal struggle for everyone, although we also have to look at what we did well."
The hockey players started the European Championship with a disappointing 1-1 draw against Belgium and hoped to set up against Spain. The team of coach Annan created many chances against the number three of the last World Cup, but the Netherlands did not get any further than a hit from a penalty corner by Caia van Maasakker.
"We just played the way we wanted to play," Annan said. "Then it is very frustrating if you create 22 chances and balls end up on the pole, just go next to the line or are just taken off the line. We have already created more than against Belgium, but we have to realize that we have to work harder to get that ball in there to get."
Caia Van Maasakker signed for the only Dutch goal. (Photo: Pro Shots)
"Must radiate that we are the best"
Due to the second draw in a row, title favorite The Netherlands has to do everything in its last group match against Russia (Wednesday 6 pm) to reach the semi-finals. The Dutch appear to have enough difference with a win with at least two goals to prevent a disgrace.
Annan mainly hopes that the courage of her players will not fall in their shoes. "We are the Netherlands and still the best in the world. We must radiate that too. If we turn in ourselves and do not radiate that we are the best, then other people will do the same and we don't want that."
Reigning world champion The Netherlands hopes to become European champion for the tenth time in a row this year in Antwerp. The only time the hockey players didn't win a medal at a European Championship was in 1991.