Disappointment for Kaz as Dutch hockey stars prove too strong

Kareena Cuthbert's Scotland went down to an impressive Dutch side in their World League semi-final opener
Kareena Cuthbert's Scotland went down to an impressive Dutch side in their World League semi-final opener

Scotland's women, co-captained by Western Wildcats' Kareena Cuthbert, went down 4-0 to the Netherlands in their World League Semi-final opener in Brussels on Wednesday.

The Scots defended very well, but in the end the world's number one ranked side managed to find the net four times for a 4-0 win.

The breakthrough came on seven minutes after a rapid run down the left saw Frederique Matla smack the ball home low at the near post from a tight angle.

As the quarter progressed the Scots were still doing a lot of chasing as the Netherlands calmly passed the ball around, and moving the Scotland defence from side-to-side in the process.

The second Dutch goal came courtesy of Laurien Leurink after a counter-attack through the middle saw the Scotland defence quickly outnumbered.

In the second half the Dutch showed no signs of letting up; their passing and pressure was almost relentless. As soon as the Scots won the ball they were immediately crowded by a high line.

The Netherlands won a penalty corner five minutes into the second half and after the initial shot was chased down, the Dutch worked the ball towards the left of the D to the wide-open Lauren Stam who smacked home low to make it 3-0.

In the final quarter Amy Gibson again pulled off a fantastic save from a penalty corner that looked like it had goal written all over it.

The Dutch, however, would make it 4-0 after a long run down the left was cut back across goal to the Kitty Van Male who had a simple tap in seven minutes from time.

The match against the Netherlands was always likely to prove a tough opener for the Scots, for whom a top eight finish would secure a place in next year's World Cup.

Scotland Women’s coach Gordon Shepherd said, “I’m very happy with the defensive performance. We knew it was going to be a tough game but the girls put a lot of effort into the performance and overall I’m delighted at the strength they showed.”

Next up is a game with China on Thursday.

That's followed by a game with Italy on Saturday - the game picked out as crucial to the Scots in terms of making it through the group stages - before they face Korea in their final section match on Sunday.