Netherlands stars Floris Evers, Roderick Weusthof and legendary attacker Teun de Nooijer have all retired from international hockey, it was confirmed last week. The trio were central figures in the team that won the Silver medal at the London 2012 Olympic Games in August, narrowly missing out on the Olympic title to Germany.
All three players were in remarkable form in the Olympic Semi Final against Great Britain, netting five goals between them (Weusthof 3, De Nooijer 1, Evers 1) as The Netherlands surged to a stunning 9-2 victory over the host nation. It was a truly brilliant attacking display from the Dutch, who showed exactly why hockey has a reputation as being one of the most exciting team sports in the world.
Here is a quick look back at their sparkling careers.
Floris Evers made his international debut against Korea on 18th August 2002 at the age of 19. It would be the first of 228 appearances he would make for The Netherlands. His impact on the international game was almost immediate, a fact proven by his nomination for the FIH Men’s Young Player of the Year Award just one year after his debut. Evers claimed the first of his two Olympic Silver medals at the Athens 2004 Olympic Games, and was a key player in the Netherlands team that won the 2007 EuroHockey Nations Championship in Manchester, England. He also claimed gold medals at three FIH Champions Trophy Events: Cologne 2002, Amstelveen 2003 and Terrassa 2006. Following the completion of the London 2012 Olympic Games, the 29-year-old attacking midfielder decided to add to his life experiences by travelling the world. He plans to take part in the New York Marathon for child cancer charity KiKa before continuing his journey to India and Africa.
Roderick Weusthof ends his international playing career with impressive statistics of 79 goals from 153 appearances. The 30-year-old attacker earned his first cap in July 2003 against Spain and claimed his first medal a year later when The Netherlands won Silver at the 2004 Champions Trophy in Lahore. Further Silver medals arrived at the 2005 Champions Trophy (Chennai, India) and the EuroHockey Nations Championships (Leipzig, Germany) before finally claiming that elusive Gold medal at the 2006 Champions Trophy in Terrsassa, Spain. A year later he added a second Gold medal to his collection when The Netherlands became European Champions in Manchester, England. The prolific striker scored six times at the London 2012 Olympic Games, a stat which saw him finish joint second in the tournament top scorers behind compatriot Mink van der Weerden. At club level, Weusthof has scored more goals than any other player in the history of the Dutch top division. It was recently reported that he has netted over 300 times in the Hoofdklasse, putting him well above the 276 tally achieved by legendary Bloemendaal and Netherlands star Floris Jan Bovelander.
At 36 years of age, many expected that Teun de Nooijer would hang up his stick after the London 2012 Games, but what a legacy he leaves behind him. This brilliant, versatile attacker will be remembered not just as one of the best players of his generation but also as one of the greatest to have ever played the game. Wearing the number 14 shirt in honour of Dutch footballing icon Johan Cruyff, De Nooijer represented the Netherlands a world record 453 times and scored 219 goals in a career that lasted 18 years. His frightening speed, awesome skill, spectacular passes and stunning finishing earned him admiration throughout the world and saw him named as the FIH Player of the Year in 2003, 2005 and 2006.
De Nooijer’s international career began on 4th June 1994, making his debut in a friendly match against New Zealand at the tender age of 18. It was immediately clear that he was in possession of an extraordinary talent, but few could have predicted the sheer scale of what this young man go on to achieve.
De Nooijer’s first medal came at the 1994 World Cup when The Netherlands took Silver behind Pakistan after suffering an agonizing penalty shoot-out defeat. The pain of that loss was eased by the first of two Olympic Gold Medals, when he played a starring role as his team surged to victory at Atlanta 1996. Two years later, De Nooijer scored a Golden Goal winner against Spain in the 1998 World Cup Final in Utrecht, before claiming his second consecutive Olympic Gold medal at the Sydney 2000 Games.
He was denied a third Olympic Gold medal at Athens 2004 when injury forced him out of the final against an Australia team that took victory thanks to a Golden Goal from future HC Bloemendaal team-mate and long time friend Jamie Dwyer.
The 2008 Beijing Olympic campaign proved to be fruitless, with The Netherlands finishing outside of the medal positions. However, his fifth and final Olympic appearance at London 2012 appearance would result in a remarkable fourth medal, adding a second Silver medal to the one he claimed in Athens eight years earlier.
Away from Olympic and World Cup events, De Nooijer also won Gold medals at four champions Trophy tournaments, and was a central figure in the Netherlands team that won the 1997 EuroHockey Nations Championship in Manchester. At club level, De Nooijer has been and continues to be the driving force of HC Bloemendaal, being part helping the team to seven Dutch league titles as well as success in the Euro Hockey League in the 2008-2009 season, being named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. De Nooijer was recently named a Knight in the Order of Orange Nassau, a royal honour for people who have earned special merits for society.
The FIH would like to thank them all three players for their contribution to the sport and wish them the very best for the future.
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