A decision by the video referee, which raised the necessary question marks, turned out to be worth gold for the Den Bosch hockey players on Monday afternoon. Without luck, even the most successful team in Europe cannot navigate well, as the Euro Hockey League final proved.
Thanks to a goal from Frédérique Matla, which was hotly contested by the women of rival Club de Campo de Madrid, Den Bosch was once again crowned European champion after a 1-0 victory.
Despite the questionable aim of the Bossche women, victory was anything but a surprise. After all, the statistics speak volumes. It was the 23rd time in the last 24 years Black and yellow in the final of the European Cup I and later the EHL. The team has won the artificial turf field no less than eighteen times.
The curriculum vitae of the Spanish opponent was in stark contrast. The women’s Madrid track record includes only two bronze medals at the European level, collected in 2015 and 2018.
The Netherlands has been regarded as a glutton on the European stage for years. Amsterdam can present fifteen championships, HGC seven. Kampong (twice successful), SCHC and Laren (both with one title) are considered modest teams by comparison. The last time any Dutch team was in the final battle was in 1998.
Den Bosch, dressed in white for the occasion, started the first quarter with energy. Coach Marieke Dijkstra’s team did not have their sights on, an imperfection that also played a trick on the team early in the tournament.
The team were awarded three penalty corners, but were unable to outwit the Spanish goalkeeper as many times. For their part, the women of the Country Club also failed to hit the ball from the head of the circle. The second quarter was not successful either, with 0-0 on the scoreboard in the middle of the match.
pay for work
After the break, the image of the game hardly changed at first. Den Bosch was the superior group, he attacked like a delight, but once again failed to be effective. Only in the last quarter did the team receive salary for work.
By the way, that required the help of the video referee. Matla’s liberating goal, which also accounted for the entire score for Den Bosch with two hits in the semi-final against Düsseldorfer HC on Sunday, is said to have been preceded by a cross that came from just outside the baseline.
The Country Club requested a so-called ‘remission’, but the video referee did not comply with that protest after further examination of the footage. It thus became one of the most difficult victories that Bossche’s team achieved in the European final. The national coach Paul van Ass, an attentive spectator in the Wagener Stadium, briefly summed up the essence of the European final battle afterwards. “Win is win”.
At the end of the day we still have that gold medal around our neck, and that’s what it’s all about.
Matchwinner Matla could only partially agree with that. After all, nobility is mandatory for a club of the caliber of Den Bosch, he said.
no piece of cake
“It certainly wasn’t easy,” he sounded with a great sense of understatement. To add with a laugh: “I think the audience was the big winner.”
“They gave us a lot of space, but we didn’t do enough,” Matla put her hand on her own chest. “When you have great opportunities, it’s a matter of finishing. We’ll leave it there.”
“On the other hand, we are confident that we can deliver for sixty minutes. We have the idea that that goal will eventually come. We have not been disappointed. At the end of the trip we are back with that gold medal around our neck. And that’s what matters”.