Maddie Hinch was the hero for GB’s hockey team once again as her penalty shootout exploits set up a rematch with the Dutch in the Olympic semi-final on Wednesday.
The GB goalkeeper saved all four Spanish penalties to clinch 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 was reminiscent of her exploits in Deodoro in the final when Hinch saved four penalties against the Netherlands to secure GB women’s first-ever hockey gold.
And while the defending champions, including Welsh pair Jones and Leah Wilkinson, will go in as underdogs against the world’s No.1 side, Lily Owsley is ready to cause another upset.
The 26-year-old, who is one of seven survivors from that Rio squad, said: “I’m glad we’re playing Holland. We’re here to win and you don’t win without beating the best team in the world so I’m glad we’ve got Holland.
“It’s an amazing challenge, the bigger the team, the bigger the challenge. You come to the Olympics to play those kinds of games. Pressure makes diamonds so we’ll give it a good go and hopefully come away with a result.”
Twice GB led against Spain, who they beat at the same stage in Rio, with Martin and Grace Balsdon on target.
However they were pegged back on each occasion, first by Belén Iglesias and then by Berta Bonastre to force a shootout.
Hinch then proved the difference, as she had in Rio, but the keeper was quick to point out that even she is not a sure thing, with Spain having beaten England on penalties at the 2019 EuroHockey.
Hinch, whose heroics were broadcast live on Eurosport and discovery+ , said: “I can tell you that they don’t always go like that. In the Olympics they are going ok. As a keeper I think you shouldn’t fear them. It’s a chance for you to do your part.
“I didn’t fear it, I felt ready, I felt I’d done my work so I could have let all five in, I could have saved all five, it’s just how it goes and it certainly helps when we’re putting them in the back of the net as well.
“I’m quietly confident in my ability to do it. But it doesn’t always go like that, I just take it one shootout at a time, celebrate each save, get the hype going, it’s all important to play into the Spanish heads.”
The next challenge will be the Dutch, five years on from that special night in Brazil.
Since then, the Netherlands have won the World Cup and three EuroHockey titles, while they also got the better of GB in the group stages 1-0.
They will be favourites, but the same was true in Rio, and GB have Hinch.
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