The Netherlands celebrate their win of the inaugural Hockey World League.
The Netherlands celebrate their win of the inaugural Hockey World League.
(Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

The Netherlands won the first ever Hockey World League after cruising to a 7-2 victory in the final of the Hero Hockey World League Final. England are Bronze medal winners in the inaugural Hockey World League thanks to their 2-1 win over Australia. 

New Zealand v The Netherlands 2-7 (0-3)

The Netherlands won the first ever Hockey World League after cruising to a 7-2 victory in the final of the Hero Hockey World League Final. Dutch captain Robert van der Horst said: “This was a very good result, we knew we were able to play hard, and we needed to stick to our game plan, which is speeding up and skilful hockey. However the final score of 7-2 is unbelievable.”

A cagey first 10 minutes saw both teams testing their opposition, but providing very few real scoring opportunities. It was the Netherlands who broke the deadlock when Constantijn Jonkers (17') scored the first of his three goals from an almost impossible angle past Devon Manchester in the Black Sticks goal. The Netherlands turned up the pressure in the last 15 minutes of the first half, winning two penalty corners and keeping the Black Sticks pinned in their half of the pitch. A second goal was added by Billy Bakker (23') as the men in black struggled to cope with the ferocity of the Dutch attack. The Netherlands third goal came on the stroke of half time when a ball fired in from the midfield found Jonkers (35') who deflected the ball past Manchester.

The second half got off to a scintillating start as first the Netherlands through Bob de Voogd (36') put the Netherlands 4-0 up and then Steve Edwards (37') of the Black Sticks made the score 4-1.The game continued to be very open, with both teams seeking long passes to penetrate the defence, but again it was the Netherlands who made pressure tell, Rogier Hofman (45') scoring Oranje hockey's fifth goal and putting the game all but out of the Black Sticks reach. Edwards (52') scored his second for the Black Sticks but then Bakker (59') added his second, again a field goal that bounced around the circle before the tall Dutchman fired it home. Minutes later Jonker (61') got his third goal after running onto a ball fired into the circle and tipping it home.

Player of the tournament Robbert Kemperman said that “It is a great feeling, we really wanted that win, I am really proud and everyone put an effort into the win." Asked about his individual award, Kemperman said that it was a “nice extra.” Black Sticks skipper Dean Couzins admitted that he felt “pretty disappointed” after the loss, but said that when the team had a chance to reflect on the overall performance they would be pleased with the steps they had taken. This was a sentiment echoed by coach Colin Batch. “We didn’t come out to play in the first half, but we were much better in the second half. By then it was too late and we were hit by the goals either side of the half. But, we never expected a silver medal and it is a big step forwards for the team.”

The winning coach Paul van Ass said: “We are heading back to the top again. We are really pleased with the way this tournament has gone, especially with wins over Germany and Australia.” He added that with results such as India beating Germany and Argentina‘s win against the Netherlands early in the tournament, the gap between the teams was closing.

For more information on NZL v NED click here.

England v Australia 2-1 (1-1)

This bruising encounter saw both teams having an equal share of the attacking play. England were first to draw blood when Tom Carson (13’) converted a pass from close range but the Kookaburras fought back immediately thanks to a Glenn Turner (16’) strike. The world champions put a lot of pressure on the English defence but goalkeeper George Pinner pulled off some tremendous saves and it was England team-captain Barry Middleton (54’) who broke the deadlock, deflecting a pass by Ashley Jackson into the goal making it 2-1. 

Australia peppered the England goal but their usual threat from penalty corners seemed to be dampened by stalwart defending. Their last chance to equalise was from a penalty corner awarded in the last minute. Glenn Turner’s shot found its way into the goal but umpire Roel van Eert called the video umpire to check. The video umpire’s decision was no goal and England won 2-1. Hero Man of the Match Iain Lewers, said: "We have come a long way in the past nine months. We were very disappointed in the semi finals, but we did really well to come back." George Pinner, who is celebrating his 27th birthday added: "Today was the team you saw in the first four games. It was agonising to lose in the semi finals on a shoot out, so it really shows the calibre of this team to pick itself up. The main thing that we did today was defend bravely. We know that games can be won through penalty corners, so we have made it our focus not to concede so many." 

Ric Charlesworth, the Australian coach, said: "We were too loose at the back. We allowed them to score from very few chances and we didn't put our chances away as we should have done. But, it has been a great experience, especially for the younger guys. They have had a chance to experience playing against very tough opposition."

For more information on ENG v AUS click here.

Individual awards

Player of the Tournament: Robbert Kemperman (NED)

Goalkeeper of the Tournament: George Pinner (ENG)

Top goal scorer: Kieran Govers (AUS)

Best Junior Player: Mandeep Singh (IND)

Follow the action on the FIH event site.