The Netherlands held off a concerted late Argentinean comeback to keep alive their chance of a third successive women’s Olympic title, winning 3-2 in their quarter-final in Deodoro.
It took just five minutes for the Dutch to break the deadlock, a brilliant flowing move with Kelly Jonker flipping the perfect pass under her arm to Lidewij Welten who struck a crisp shot past Belen Succi.
The rain washed down and made the next phase of the game a tricky one with the extra surface water slowing the momentum. Argentina did win a couple of corners but Noel Barrionuevo could not get full purchase behind her shots and the Dutch cleared.
The second goal was a thing of beauty, Laurien Leurink bursting forward, pushing into space before unleashing a vicious shot that beat Succi to record her second goal of the competition.
2-0 at half-time became three seven minutes into the second haf when Maartje Paumen’s corner hit ricocheted across the face of goal and Jonker was on hand to poke home from close range.
Argentina fought back and – with Eva de Goede in the sin-bin – Florencia Habif got the Pan-American champions on the scoreboard with a neat touch to Barrionuevo’s low push.
Naomi van As and Margot van Geffen followed de Goede to the sin-bin, reducing the Dutch to eight for a time but they suffered no further concessions during that time.
Two had returned but van Geffen was still on the sideline when Argentina got their second in the 53rd minute, Carla Rebecchi’s disguised push making it to Delfina Merino who guided in the chance. It set up a grandstand finish in which the Dutch came closest to scoring again, sending their fans home – including King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima – wet but happy.
They will meet Germany in their semi-final on Wednesday.