The Netherlands made an opening statement of intent, racing into a 4-0 lead against Spain in their opening tie. Lidewij Welten started the scoring in the 12th minute before Laurien Leurink, Marloes Keetels and a Maartje Paumen special built an imposing lead.

Paumen fired home a second corner for a 5-0 advantage early in the final quarter to close out the victory.

And Welten said she was “really happy” with how they started off. “Everyone was a bit nervous because this a really big tournament and everyone was hoping we could play well. Especially in the first half, we showed how good we can be.

“It’s a pity we couldn’t keep it up the whole game but we don’t have too much to complain about!”

The vast majority of the crowd in Deodoro were dressed in orange, singing throughout the game. And Welten said it was amazing to have this support so far away from home.

Fans
“We have a really good fanbase; all the parents and friends and family came over along with other orange supporters were here. It looks nice!

“Our main target is gold and I think we are all sharp for it but we just have to see it game by game because you never know what will happen in a tournament.”

Ther Netherlands face a tough series of games with China and Korea coming up while New Zealand look another tough prospect.

Earlier in the day, the kiwis opened their account with a comprehensive 4-1 win over Korea in Pool A. Goals from Kirsten Pearce, Charlotte Harrison in the first 20 minutes laid a perfect base before Petrea Webster added the fourth goal. Myunji Kim’s goal was a consolation with five minutes to go.

Germany, meanwhile, drew 1-1 with China with Lisa Altenburg’s early team goal cancelled out by Yang Peng in the 28th minute. Monday sees the Netherlands play Korea at 5pm, New Zealand plays Germany at 1.30pm and Spain face China at 7.30pm.

In Pool B, India came from 2-0 down to draw with Japan 2-2, Rani and Lilima Minz scoring after half-time for an important point in their first Olympic appearance since 1980.

Tomorrow, USA face Australia in another key game at 10am (Rio time) before India face Great Britain at 6.30pm and Argentina meet Japan at 8.30pm.