In a spirited 3-1 win over Argentina in the finals on Sunday, the Netherlands once again came out on top in the FIH Women’s Hockey World Cup. This historic victory is not only record-breaking but record-extending, as the Dutch program now lays claim to nine World Cups out of the 15 that have taken place since the tournament’s inception in 1974.
For goalkeeper Anne Veenendaal, one of the openly gay athletes at the Tokyo Olympics who attended the Olympics as a reserve, this was her second consecutive world championship medal since she first earned her place on the national team in 2015. Along with Josine Koning who alternates as a starter with Veenendaal, Oranje head coach Jamilon Mülders describes the duo as “two of the three best keepers in the world” with England’s Maddie Hinch rounding out the three.
The Netherlands’ unique goal-sharing strategy, compared by hockey analyst Jaap Stockmann to the quintessentially Dutch “Polder Model” of collaboration and cooperation, used to see Veenendaal and Koning alternating in goal at halftime, and sometimes even every 15 minutes. Now the two take turns every other match, with Veenendaal taking the lead in Saturday’s 1-0 semifinal win over Australia, and Koning in the finals on Sunday. Each played three matches total in the tournament.
“We are both very involved from the bench. We help each other and talk about the corners during the break. We really do it together,” Josine Koning told de Volkskrant last week.
The closely bonded Dutch team also extends its ethos of mutual support to their off the field activities, and has been vocally supportive of LGBTQ rights, notably standing in solidarity with the LGBTQ community ahead of one of their Olympic matches last year.
For Veenendaal, being on the Olympic team is still her dream, and with Paris 2024 on the horizon, her performance at the World Cup this past weekend has been another high-profile showcase for her to prove herself as the best keeper for the job.