The Netherlands kept up their bid for three successive Olympic women’s hockey gold medals as they survived a huge scare to beat Germany 4-3 in a shoot-out after normal time had ended 1-1.
It owed much to the nerve of Joyce Sombroek who saved four times in the decider, allowing Ellen Hoog to fire home the winner after a huge arm wrestle of a match.
For the most part, the Dutch had the bulk of possession and did most of the pressing but they fell behind in 11th minute when Lisa Schutze won a penalty corner.
She duly went and snapped up the rebound from the set piece for a surprise 1-0 lead. The Netherlands responded quickly, however, with Maartje Paumen scoring just 45 seconds into the second quarter with her fourth corner goal of the competition.
From there, they went closest to extending the advantage with Ellen Hoog and Paumen going close. Marie Mavers almost turned in the pick of the German chances from a Pia Oldhafer cross.
She would later get a yellow card with six minutes to go that briefly saw Germany down to nine players during which time they were under huge pressure, facing a volley of chances with Kristina Reynolds somehow keeping out a spate of chances.
It led to a shoot-out in which Germany took the early advantage as Reynolds saved in the second and third round. Joyce Sombroek kept her team in the mix with a save from Lisa Altenburg and Jana Teschke, with Margot van Geffen levelling at 2-2.
Both round five shots were saved, sending it to sudden death. Janne Muller-Wieland then scored a brilliant rebound from an almost impossible angle to give Germany the advantage but Willemijn Bos levelled once again.
And so to round seven; Sombroek saved for a fourth time and Ellen Hoog kept shifted one way and the next before finishing off to send the Dutch into the final.