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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.

It is their 58th medal in total, seven short of their tally at London 2012 with two days remaining.

“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

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

Britain, who won all eight of their matches in Rio, had 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 in and Nicola White finishing off a goalmouth scramble either side of another Paumen strike.

Hinch got out a little black book to with notes on the opposition before the shootout – where five players from each team get eight seconds to try and score – and she was unbeaten as Webb scored the decisive fifth penalty.

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

What they said

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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, but I basically give myself a game plan for each player and I execute that and thankfully it worked. Thankfully the Dutch did what I thought they would do.”

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

Helen said: “To get an Olympic medal is special but to share it with Kate is truly amazing.”

Kate added: “To see Helen go through double-back surgery and maybe never play again – she took that penalty and it was so assured. She has that in bucket loads and makes everyone else in the squad have that.”

But the 36-year-old confirmed it would be her final GB appearance: “100% I will retire as a reigning European champion with England and an Olympic champion with Great Britain.”

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

“Without doubt 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.

“The grit on show sums up this team. They have stuck together through thick and thin – never have 16 people looked more committed to one another.”

Hollie Webb

GB women celebrate

GB women celebrate

Princess Ariane (left) and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands

Kate Richardson-Walsh

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