Rio Olympics 2016: GB women win first hockey gold on penalties

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GB win hockey gold

Great Britain's women have won a first Olympic hockey gold medal by beating defending champions the Netherlands in a dramatic penalty shootout.

The final finished 3-3 in normal time, with Britain's keeper Maddie Hinch making a string of remarkable saves.

And the Dutch, the current world champions, could not beat Hinch in the shootout, which Britain won 2-0.

Helen Richardson-Walsh and Hollie Webb scored the decisive penalties to win Britain's 24th gold at Rio 2016.

With two days of competition remaining, it is their 58th medal in total, seven short of their tally at London 2012.

Reaction - Hinch for PM? GB joy after hockey gold

"It's difficult to put into words what this means," said Richardson-Walsh.

"Seventeen years ago, when I started my career, we were so far off this. It has taken so much hard work and it means absolutely everything."

Webb's winning penalty sparked celebrations from the British team - bronze medallists four years ago - after they survived long periods of pressure at the hands of their feted opponents.

The Netherlands are the world's number one team, have won gold at the two previous Olympics and are the reigning world champions.

And while they showed their quality for much of the game, they were repelled by a spirited British performance, summed up by the heroics of Hinch.

Hinch's little black book

Maddie Hinch
None of the four Dutch penalty takers were able to beat GB keeper Maddie Hinch

The goalkeeper saved an early penalty stroke from Maartje Paumen and kept out a number of Dutch penalty corners.

Britain led at the end of the first quarter through a Lily Owsley tap-in, before Kitty van Male and Paumen put the Dutch in front.

GB then levelled twice to take it to penalties, with Crista Cullen sweeping the ball home to make it 2-2 before Nicola White finished off a goalmouth scramble either side of another Paumen strike.

Before the shootout began, Hinch got out a little black book with notes on the opposition - and the homework paid off as she kept out four Dutch penalties before Webb scored the decisive fifth for GB, who won all eight matches in Rio,

Earlier, Germany beat New Zealand 2-1 to take the bronze medal.

What they said

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Tunes, tears & triumph - GB celebrate hockey gold

Keeper Hinch said: "Goalkeeping has its highs and lows. You can be a villain, but you can also be a hero in the moment.

"It helped that the Dutch had a shootout in their semi-final, so that gave me a chance to see what they do.

"I basically give myself a game plan for each player and I execute that. Thankfully it worked. The Dutch did what I thought they would do."

Great Britain captain Kate Richardson-Walsh and wife Helen Richardson-Walsh became the first married couple to win gold for Britain since Cyril and Dorothy Wright in the sailing in 1920.

"To win an Olympic medal is special," said Kate. "To win an Olympic medal with your wife there next to you, taking a penalty in the pressure moments is so special. We will cherish this for the rest of our lives.''

Now 36, Kate confirmed "100%" that it would be her final GB appearance.

"I will retire as a reigning European champion with England and an Olympic champion with Great Britain," she said.

GB coach Danny Kerry said: "We know we're good at shootouts. We have some tough characters taking them and we have probably the best goalkeeper in the world. Some days you know you're going to win."

Netherlands coach Alyson Annan said her team "dominated the whole game", adding: "Tactically, we were strong. Technically, we were strong. Physically, mentally, we were the better team. That makes it much more disappointing.''

Analysis

Simon Mason, former GB Olympic hockey player

"I am genuinely struggling to put that into words. GB were under pressure for huge chunks but we thought if it went to penalties they could win. Fair play Maddie Hinch. Just incredible. That will change the face of British hockey."

View from the sidelines

Luke Reddy, BBC Sport in Rio

"That was the most exhilarating 15-minute spell I've been lucky enough to watch at the Games. Every attack was met with tense silence, roars breaking out when danger passed. The families went through despair, nerves, joy, relief and much more. There were tears, a lot of tears."

Hollie Webb
Hollie Webb's winning penalty sparked jubilant scenes
GB women celebrate
She was quickly joined by her ecstatic team-mates
GB women celebrate
GB women's first gold follows two bronze medals in hockey
Princess Ariane (left) and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
It was all a bit too much for Princess Ariane (left) and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
Kate Richardson-Walsh
Captain Kate Richardson-Walsh (left) and wife Helen Richardson-Walsh (right) are the first married couple to win gold for Britain since Cyril and Dorothy Wright in the sailing in 1920

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