Every international tournament brings caps’ milestones: acknowledgments or flowers for 50, 100 and 150 and so on. Sunday’s latest presentation was eye-opening for Dutch captain Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel – and their rivals.
The 31-year-old midfielder marked her 200th cap as Holland racked up a Women’s World Cup record score, 12-1 against hapless Italy.
In that time, she has scored 28 goals. Yet of those 200 matches, she has only played on the losing side 13 times, according to Hockey.nl, with 27 draws. Some record!
The most active player in this World Cup team, ‘DvdH’ is now ninth on the all-time Dutch caps list, 12 behind Janneke Schopman.
Seen as the joker of the side, she is also one of the most relaxed captains on the international scene.
And while Delfina Merino is billboard status back in Buenos Aires, DvdH can roam Amsterdam without being noticed; just how the amiable star likes it.
“I can do whatever I want and I can walk around without being recognised. Also, I don’t where my bandana in the street,” she told The Hockey Paper.
The city suits DvdH’s way of life as she combines her hockey with understanding physiotherapy for a possible career after she retires.
— AD.nl/sportwereld (@ADSportwereld) January 27, 2018
She purchased two canal boats last year with an aim to perhaps spend some time doing them up to stave off hockey pressures. “Yes, I bought two boats, but then it was like ‘why do I need them, so I sold them after a year’.”
Having taken over the captaincy from Marloes Keetels at the start of the year, she was unsure whether she would be carrying on until Tokyo 2020.
Coach Alyson Annan wanted a captain to see them through, but a leadership compromise was carved and it has worked out well for the Dutch.
After debuting in 2008 – along with Eva de Goede and Lidewij Welten – the SCHC player is more than an experienced hand.
Some may say, after three coasting wins in London, that they might be undercooked ahead of the last eight here. But Annan has been canny in how they’ve approached the World Cup since January.
“She chose not to see too much of us,” said DvdH. “We spent a lot of time with clubs. Usually it has been Monday to Wednesday with the team, the rest with the clubs. This year it has mostly been with the clubs.”
And their build-up has also seen in two Four Nations tournaments and around 12 games in the lead up to the World Cup.
Three games, 26 goals. 200 caps, just 13 defeats. At this rate, Dirkse van den Heuvel will finish her career with fewer international losses than the number of letters in her surname.
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