Maidenhead’s Ellie Rayer jubilant as Team GB advance to Olympic semi-finals
Maddie Hinch was once again the heroine of the British hockey team as her shooting exploits resulted in a rematch with the Dutch in the Olympic semi-final on Wednesday.
The British keeper saved all four Spanish penalties to claim a shootout victory in the quarter-finals, with Hannah Martin and Sarah Jones scoring in a 2-0 success after a 2-2 draw.
It reminded her of her exploits at Deodoro in the final when Hinch saved four penalties against the Netherlands to win the first-ever gold in British women’s hockey.
And while the defending champions, including Maidenhead’s Ellie Rayer, will play the role of underdog against the world No.1 team, Lily Owsley is poised to cause another upheaval.
The 26-year-old, who is one of seven survivors from the Rio squad, said: “I’m glad we’re playing against Holland. We’re here to win and you don’t win without beating the best team in the world, so I’m glad we have Holland.
“It’s an incredible challenge, the bigger the team, the bigger the challenge. You come to the Olympics to play these kinds of games. The pressure makes diamonds, so we’ll give it a shot and hopefully come out with a result. “
Twice GB led against Spain, which they beat at the same stadium in Rio, with Martin and Grace Balsdon in the goal.
However, they were caught each time, first by Belén Iglesias and then by Berta Bonastre to force a shootout.
Hinch then made the difference, as she had done in Rio, but the goalkeeper was quick to point out that even she was unsure as Spain beat England on penalties on goal. EuroHockey 2019.
Hinch, whose exploits were broadcast live on Eurosport and discovery + , said: “I can tell you they don’t always go like this. At the Olympics, all is well. As a guardian, I think you shouldn’t be afraid of them. This is a chance for you to do your part.
“I wasn’t afraid of it, I felt ready, I felt I had done my job so I could have let in the five, I could have saved the five, that’s how it goes and it certainly helps when we put them at the back of the net too.
“I am quietly confident in my ability to do this. But it doesn’t always happen that way, I just take one shootout at a time, celebrate every save, start the hype, it’s very important to play in the Spanish head.
The next challenge will be the Dutch, five years after that special night in Brazil.
Since then, the Netherlands have won the World Cup and three EuroHockey titles, while they have also beaten Great Britain in the group stage 1-0.
They will be favorites, but it was the same in Rio, and Great Britain has Hinch.
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