“We have been through ups and downs – some of the best and worst times over the last few years.“And for Helen to come back from two back surgeries and get over that and not just play again but reach an Olympic final, it’s a great achievement.I am very proud of her.” Britain’s only previous Olympic hockey final came in Seoul in 1988, when a Sean Kerly-powered men’s team famously defeated West Germany.

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The bronze medallist at London 2012 said: “I’m an old lady now.

"There have been so many good moments, but I would like to go out with a bang, standing on the podium singing the national anthem – and be one of those people I looked up to as a kid.

“I remember watching the ­Olympics when I was 12 seeing Sally Gunnell win gold and the hockey ladies winning bronze in 1992.

I remember my parents getting up to watch the men in 1988, but I was only eight and a little too young.

“You saw what happened to hockey in the country after that, though, it really picked up. “We can take confidence that we can beat the Dutch.

They are a very experienced side, they are the reigning Olympic and world champs, so the pressure is on them.

After seven wins out of seven, Kerry praised his side’s fighting spirit – which was much needed in Wednesday’s bruising 3-0 semi-final win over New Zealand.

Great Britain hockey skipper Kate Richardson-Walsh has paid tribute to wife Helen’s comeback from career-threatening back injuries.

Kate and midfielder Helen are the first same-sex married couple to compete together at an Olympics and they have both played key roles in inspiring Team GB ’s women into their first-ever victory, against reigning champions Holland.