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The pressure is all on the Netherlands tonight says Charlton

Black Sticks vice-captain Sam Charlton says they have the ability to be really dogged against world no.1 the Netherlands in tonight’s Olympic quarterfinal.

While the experienced defender with 261 caps for her country is under no illusion how tough the Dutch will be, they know they can defend like “absolute mongrels”.

“We have the ability to be really dogged. We know we’re not going to dominate the game for large periods but I think if we can be really diligent with the opportunities we get in the attacking circle and then defend like absolute mongrels … that’s the attitude we’re going in with.”

While a number of the Black Sticks haven’t faced the World Cup winners, Charlton knows they’ve always had tight matches with the Netherlands – losing the last two in 2019 by just one goal.

“We’ve actually had a lot of close games. We know they’ve been the no.1 team in the world for a long time now but it does mean that the pressure is on them. We have to use that to our advantage and play with no fear and no expectation.”

Charlton said the 3-2 loss to China on Saturday was a game that everyone felt didn’t do the black dress proud.

“We all went back and watched the entire game straight away to figure out where it all went wrong. While it’s important to debrief and take the learnings from that, in a tournament format you have to put games to bed really quickly.”

While tonight’s match could be the last for a number in the team contemplating retirement, she said former Black Stick player and coach Katie Glynn (now part of the Great Britain coaching team) had once told them they should play every game like it’s your last.

“It’s something you can’t really think about too much. And we often talk about playing every game like it’s your last as you never know when your last game is going to be – whether it’s your choice through retirement or through injury or non-selection.”

And if tonight’s quarterfinal goes to a shootout like the heart-breaking 2012 Olympic semifinal against the Dutch, Charlton says they’ll be ready.

“We had a fear around shootouts because we hadn’t won one but when you have someone in goal like Grace (O’Hanlon) and you know she can stop two, three, four if not five of those shootouts then we know we’re in with a really good shot.”

  • August 1st, 2021 in
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