First half goals from team captain Maartje Paumen and retiring legend Kim Lammers gave the Netherlands a thoroughly deserved 2-0 victory over Austalia’s Hockeyroos in the women’s final of the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 in The Hague.
The Netherlands were simply superb throughout the contest, with Paumen netting a 12th minute penalty stroke before ace striker Lammers netted a second in her 200th and final international match.
The result, which was watched by 15,000 screaming fans in the Kyocera Stadium, as well as a global audience of millions, gives the reigning Olympic champions their seventh world crown following titles in 1974, 1978, 1983, 1986, 1990 and 2006.
“I could only dream of this,” said Kim Lammers immediately after the match. “I'm so proud of the team and that we kept focussed all the time. We played a good semi-final but we needed to keep focused, of course, on the final. We waited until our chances came and finally we got this penalty stroke. Maartje Paumen, she's a killer, a lot of pressure but she does it always. Then I got my chance and it's a dream to score in a World Cup Final in our own home and on my 200th cap.”
Lammers was further honoured winning Adidas Best Goal of the Tournament for her brilliant deflection against New Zealand in pool play. Paumen was named Hero Top Scorer, with seven goals, while speedy Oranje midfielder Ellen Hoog was named Rabobank Best Player of the Tournament. Australia’s Rachael Lynch was named Interpolis Best Goalkeeper after her pivotal performance in the Hockeyroos’ semi-final shoot-out win.
Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee, handed out the gold medals in front of a roaring home crowd, while FIH President Leandro Negre presented the Women’s Hockey World Cup trophy to captain Paumen.
Powered on by the sensational atmosphere in the stadium, the opening ten minutes of the match were absolutely electrifying, with the Netherlands bombing forward at will and looking every bit like the champions elect. Player of the tournament Hoog saw her brilliant backhand effort tipped around the post by ace shot-stopper Lynch before a Paumen penalty corner drag-flick was intercepted by Australia’s captain fantastic Madonna Blyth.
The Hockeyroos almost silenced the cheering home fans when a fine trap and shot from Emily Hurtz brought an impressive save from Joyce Sombroek before the opening goal arrived in the 12th minute. Paumen slammed a penalty stroke into the top left corner immediately following a rash challenge on attacking live-wire Roos Drost. The goal sent the home fans into raptures and allowed the Netherlands to believe that their dream of winning the World Cup on home soil may actually become a reality.
The Netherlands doubled their advantage six minutes before the break when Lammers netted from close range following a lovely interchange of passes with Player of the Tournament Ellen Hoog. It was a special moment for Lammers, a player who will go down in history as one of the all-time greats of Dutch hockey.
Australian sporting teams are well-known for their “never-say-die” attitude, and the Hockeyroos were certainly not going to go down without a fight. The Champions of Oceania had penalty corner chances either side of half time, with gifted drag-flicker Anna Flanagan bringing the best out of Sombroek early in the second period. However, it was the Dutch who continued to look the most dangerous and would surely have had a third were it not for Karri McMahon’s stick save from another Paumen penalty corner rocket. Lammers and Kelly Jonker also went close before a blistering backhand shot from Hoog was denied only by the right post.
The Australians continued to battle hard right up until the final seconds, but nothing could deny the all-conquering Dutch girls, who now become reigning Olympic and World champions.
Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Tournament Awards:
Rabobank Best Player: Ellen Hoog, Netherlands
Hero Best Junior Player: Florencia Habif, Argentina
Interpolis Best Goalkeeper: Rachael Lynch, Australia
Hero Top Scorer: Maartje Paumen, Netherlands
Adidas Best Goal: Kim Lammers, Netherlands