The Netherlands handed Great Britain one of the most painful defeats in recent memory, as they were thoroughly out-gunned in front of their home support. It was a breath-taking display as the interplay of Roderick Weusthof, Teun de Nooijer, Valentin Verga and Floris Evers was too hot to handle.Billy Bakker and Weusthof were the chief profiteers, claiming a hat-trick each, while they also ran up four penalty corners from their five attempts. It was the biggest Olympic semi-final victory since India beat France 10-0 in 1936 and equalled GB’s biggest ever margin of defeat in the Olympic Games. It took little time to get into the action with Bakker and Kemperman firing pot shots inside the first three minutes.
Klaas Vermeulen was carried off with a nasty looking shoulder injury soon after before the Dutch hit the front in the seventh minute. Kemperman found a foot just ahead of de Nooijer who looked certain to score but Weusthof duly potted the corner. He got his and the Netherlands’ second from an off-kilter corner which was not stopped cleanly but was worked back to the striker who was unmarked and he slammed home off James Fair’s instep.Ashley Jackson’s brilliant low drag-flick roused the crowd in the 19th minute and Barry Middleton’s touch to Matt Daly’s ball shaved the bar. But it was brief respite as the Dutch had the two-goal margin restored by Mink van der Weerden’s seventh goal in six games, another corner. And the fourth was hammer blow just before half-time. It was an intricate beauty of a goal as Verga took a free quickly on half-way and, via close-range passes in the circle between Weusthof and Rogier Hofman, Bakker walked in the ball.
Britain enjoyed their best spell just after the break, having two corners charged down by Hofman, Daly thrashed an effort wide and James Tindall was set clear. His composure was off, though, and could only find a Dutch stick. By contrast, the orange-shirts were calmness personified as Weusthof and de Nooijer waltzed down the baseline to lay up another Bakker goal that well and truly killed off the tie in the 45th minute, 5-1.Bob de Voogd’s drive through Fair was tipped in by de Nooijer, Floris Evers got in on the act a minute later. Bakker bashed another in with 19 minutes to go and Weusthof’s third closed off their scoring before Rob Moore pulled one back with a nice tip-in to Glen Kirkham’s cross.
Paul van Ass was left with two major worries though as Vermuelen looks to have broken his collar bone while van der Weerden was taken to hospital for a scan on a foot injury. The Dutch will play Germany in the final while Great Britain will meet Australia for bronze.