“Tough to take” was Ronan Gormley’s assessment of a final scoreline that probably did not do justice to Ireland’s contribution as a heavy defeat to the world number two Dutch side was recorded.
“When you look up at the scoreboard and it’s 5-0 and you have invested a lot into the game, it is tough to take,” he said to The Hook after the tie.
“They are an extremely effective side but, at the same time, a couple of those goals we need to wrap up before they go across the line. A couple of corners could have gone our way but could have, should have… we will have to look at the video and move on.
“We have had some good play but a couple of the goals that have gone in have been preventable. That’s in us. We have shown in the past that the reason we have got here is because we can defend very resolutely and that’s what we will have to do in the next three games.”
Coach Craig Fulton added it is important for the side to keep the faith in their own strengths, adding that controlling the emotional ups and downs is a key part of the process.
“It’s a rollercoaster. If you can keep your highs not too high and your lows not too low, you will get your opportunity. You just need to be patient. We are pushing hard; we are not going out there to concede five and we have a lot of pride in our group but sometimes, we come up short.”
In the stadium, it was also an evening with a proper atmosphere with both the Irish and Dutch – the two best represented fanbases in Deodoro – enjoying plenty of back and forth.
Fulton paid tribute once again to those that traveled all the way to get behind the team: “Night games always bring that atmosphere and the support has been amazing.
“Ireland’s not close so there’s a lot of people who have made a big effort to get here. We wanted to do them proud. They have to be patient with us but we will do it.”
He also confirmed Conor Harte has a deep cut that required six stitched but he is hopeful that he will make a full recovery, adding: “It’s good news that he came back out and it is not a break. We will see how he goes over the next 24 hours.”
From the Dutch side, Mirco Pruijser said it was not as easy as the scoreline suggested. “Maybe the result looks like an easy game but it wasn’t. They played a fast tempo, high-paced hockey but we also did well.
“They really put the pressure on in the third quarter and took a few more risks, going high with the flankers [full-backs]. We had to a go a bit deeper but we could turn this around and step up again.
Rob van der Horst concurred: “They gave us a pretty hard time in the third and fourth quarter. They are a good team, third in the last European Championships, and they are up and coming. I hope they keep it together and get some points and qualify for the quarter because they are able to be there.”
After back-to-back games, Ireland will now meet reigning champions Germany in their third game. Gormley knows their style well from his time with Crefelder and is looking forward to the challenge.
“In typical German style, they think through what they are doing. You have to be very tactically astute and aware to play against them but we have a good record.
“Although we lost to them in the Euros in London, it was probably our best performance in London. We frustrated them a lot so we have plenty to take with us into that game.”
He sees no issue with playing three games in four days.
“We are in the best shape of our lives. It’s what we are built for and why we run ourselves into the ground in each match. We are good at the recovery process and will be fine for the next match.”
Fulton, meanwhile, added that the rest day will be a welcome one to get build for the last three games.
“We will regroup, pull out the detail [from the two performances] and get the facts. We had a good game against Germany a month ago in Valencia but we have to be able to produce now.
“As long as the group stays together, which they will with the mutual respect they have for each other. They are mentally strong and it’s a nice challenge for us on Tuesday.”