The defending Olympic Champion and top-ranked, Holland topped Cinderella Belgium, coming tp the Olympics ranked 16th, with a 3-0 win. The Dutch women were loudly cheered by a huge contingent of fans clad in orange, while the Belgian women looked tense during the anthems for their first ever Olympic match.
As expected, The Dutch dominated the match early, circulating the ball wide of the Belgium defensive block. Maartje Paumen saw her first attempt at penalty-corner deflected on the post by young Aisling D'Hoogue in the Belgium goal, then Margot van Geffen followed up with a powerful shot that flew inches wide of the post. Play was limited to one half of the pitch, but the Dutch players could not beat the Belgium defense regrouped in the circle, and they peppered the outside of the goal when they had a chance to shoot.
The Dutch finally scored with two minutes left in the half with a deflection from close range by Kim Lammers, receiving a perfect long ball from Eva de Goede, celebrating in style her 100th International Cap. The modest one-goal lead for the Netherlands at half-time was not reflecting the action on the pitch, but there was little doubt on the outcome of the contest.
The Dutch women continued their domination in the second half, and Kim Lammers scored her second goal with a deflection from close range over D'Hoogue, this time on a pass from Ellen Hoog running around the Belgian defense on the right of the circle.
With rain suddenly starting to fall on London, the pace abated a couple notches. The Dutch scored a third goal on penalty-corner by Caia van Maasakker, a late addition to the Dutch team after the injury to Willemijn Bos, then rolled on to an easy win over a Belgian team which, to their credit, never gave up the fight, even forcing a penalty-corner in the last minute of play.
For more information on NED v BEL, click here.
Aisling D'HOOGHE (BEL), on the team strategy against Netherlands: "Today we wanted to play as a pack, altogether, fight one for others. The defence was a very solid point today. We did it quite well in the first half. We had to attack more and we didn't do it enough and not at the good moments, so we have to do it a bit more."
On preparations for the next match against China: "Now I'm going to go to sleep because last night I was very excited for my first match so I didn't sleep enough."
Eva de GOEDE (NED), on winning her 100th cap: "It's a great feeling. There was a great crowd today and it was an amazing arena to play in. My parents and sister were in the crowd watching. I'm very proud."
Kim LAMMERS (NED), on scoring two goals in their opening match: "It's great to play in such an ambiance and great to win. It's very important to win the first game. I think we started a little bit nervous but finally when the ball was there, we played a pretty good game, a pretty good first game. It's my first Olympics and it's great to score goals in this big tournament. I'm pretty happy because we also won the game and that is the most important thing for today."