Two month ago this match decided one of the last Olympic berths in Trieste and back then the Netherlands beat the Greeks 7-4 with a superior 4-0 second half. Their current clash in the World League European qualifiers in Budapest was anything but similar. First of all, the line-ups differed and the stakes too – so we saw a flood of goals and a Greek triumph at the end.
While defences ruled the match in January, now came a 31-goal encounter where the Dutch had a strong opening and took a 6-4 lead only to see the Greeks hit back with a 0-5 rush to go 6-9 ahead still in the first half. The Dutch came back strong after the middle break and soon they retook the lead at 11-10. From that point it was the same pattern for a while, the Netherlands went ahead, the Greeks equalised, up until 15-15.
In the last minute the Dutch had a promising attack but missed it, Greece called for a time-out, set up a 7 on 6 with the goalkeeper also joining the attack (moving to the 2m line), and after some patient passing Eirini Ninou – who had netted the 15th as well – sent the ball home from the perimeter with 2.3 seconds remaining.
Netherlands v Greece 15-16
The Dutch had one lost shot but it was blocked so they lost their second 31-goal game here after yesterday they had gone down against Hungary 17-14. That was a friendly game, now they lost a World League clash so they have to dig deep in their remaining two contests against Russia and Spain to advance to the Super Final. Watching their shaky defence, it looks quite a challenge.
Details, stats, play-by-play here.