Host nation wins fifth-straight title
Australia – Netherlands 2-1 aet (1-1 halftime)
Australia made it five in a row at the Champions Trophy after earning a 2-1 win against the Netherlands on home-turf in Melbourne. The five consecutive medals extends the Australian’s record at the event and re-establishes them as the men’s hockey team to beat after they missed out on gold at the Olympics. For the Dutch, the silver medal has a silver lining as it is an upgrade from their bronze finish the last two years.
Kieran Govers fired in the gold-medal winning goal 4:38 into extra time to lift the host nation to the victory.
It was a meeting of two of the most experienced and successful teams at the Champions Trophy. On one side was Australia in their 33rd Champions Trophy appearance and with 26 medals to their credit including four golds in their last four outings. On the other side was the Netherlands with 21 medals in 13 appearances, earning bronze the last two years.
The Aussies pressed hard in the first half, but fell behind early when Sander Baart found the upper corner open on a penalty corner effort and scored the 1-0 goal,. Australia camped out in the Dutch zone after the goal and was rewarded for their efforts on their second penalty corner chance of the game when Russell Ford scored on a follow-up play after the short corner chance.
The Aussies had the chance to take the lead at the end of the half when they were awarded a penalty stroke as time expired, but Jaap Stockmann came up with a big save on five-time FIH Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer to keep things even at the break. Stockmann was named the Best Goalkeeper of the tournament, and rightfully so as his acrobatics were a key to the Dutch success at the tournament.
Stockmann continued to wow in the second half as he was a one-man-show through much of the 35 minutes. Australia attacked and Stockmann stopped, and so it went through six penalty corner chances and multiple breakaways for the 35 minutes. In the end, the Dutch were able to hold off the Aussies in regulation and send the game to extra time.
The win improves Australia’s record against the Netherlands at the annual event. Australia now owns a 21-3-10 record against the Dutch in their 34 Champions Trophy meetings.
Best Player: Shakeel Abassi (PAK)
Best Goalkeeper: Jaap Stockmann (NED)
Top Scorer: Nicholas Wilson (NZL)
Fair Play Award: The Netherlands