After five action-packed days of incredible hockey in front of mammoth crowds, the final day of the inaugural Hockey World League is currently underway in San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina.
The sparkling new Hockey World League trophy has been unveiled and awaits its first winners, with reigning Olympic champions the Netherlands and Australia’s Hockeyroos fighting it out in tonight’s final for the right to be the first ever team to lift the prize. With its modern design, the sleek and elegant Hockey World League trophy was designed and created in Argentina and embodies the progressive nature of hockey’s newest competition.
Since the start of the World League way back in August 2012, a total of 46 teams have competed in the 13 separate events in 13 different countries. Round 1 saw tournaments taking place in Czech Republic, Ghana, Malaysia, Austria, Trinidad & Tobago and Fiji, with the second phase of the competition venturing to South Africa, India, Spain and Brazil.
The two teams that will compete in today’s final entered the competition at the Round 3 / Semi-Final stage of the competition. Australia dominate proceedings at the Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final in London (ENG), although the Netherlands could only manage a second place finish behind Germany at the Rabo Hockey World League Semi-Final in Rotterdam (NED). Despite that result, the Netherlands had easily done enough to reach the Argentina Hockey World League in San Miguel de Tucuman.
Both teams have been in scintillating form here in Argentina, with Australia starting their campaign with a brilliant 1-1 draw against hosts Argentina before topping Pool B with big wins over China (5-1) and Oceania rivals New Zealand (5-1). The Hockeyroos battled to a shoot-out victory over Germany in the quarter-finals before cruising to a 3-0 semi-final win over England. The team captained by Madonna Blyth – who was one of ten players shortlisted for the FIH Player of the Year Award that was won for an eighth time by Argentina’s Luciana Aymar – are in fine form and will take some stopping.
The Netherlands started their tournament with a thumping 6-0 win over European champions Germany, before producing a superb fight-back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 against England. A 3-1 win over Korea ensured that they topped Pool A, and a 1-0 triumph against New Zealand set up a meeting with perennial rivals and current world number 1 Argentina. The Dutch emerged victorious in the shootout after a sensational game ended with the scores locked at 2-2. Team captain Maartje Paumen and Ellen Hoog were both named in the shortlist for FIH Player of the Year, while gifted young attacker Maria Verschoor will be brimming with confidence after being named FIH Talent of the Year on Saturday evening.
The final takes place this evening at 2100 (UTC / GMT -1), following the Bronze medal match between Argentina and England at 1830. Remember, we will be live streaming all of the matches from the tournament on the FIH You Tube channel, so don't forget to tune in! To see match highlights and behind the scenes footage from the Argentina Hockey World League Final, please visit the FIH You Tube channel by clicking here. For complete information about the tournament in Tucuman, click here.
About the Hockey World League
The Hockey World League is an action packed competition giving every hockey-playing nation a chance to go all the way to the Hockey World Cup and the Olympics.
Composed of four rounds and played over two years, the schedule alternately coincides with the build-up to the World Cup and to the Olympics, providing more than half of the entry tickets for both. Beyond a mere qualifier, the Hockey World League shines a spotlight on the sport in all corners of the globe, producing exciting and elite level hockey while also providing a strong commercial opportunity for the sport.
Typified by its “Make Your Mark” slogan, the Hockey World League invites every hockey playing nation to take part. It allows even the smallest ones to dream of writing their own chapter in hockey’s history books. It builds heroes as fresh talent bursts onto the scene. Established nations feel the heat as rising superpowers threaten to install a new world order.
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