Reigning Hockey World League champions Netherlands (FIH World Ranking: 1) have long been one of the dominant forces in world hockey, and in recent years have claimed the vast majority of the sport’s biggest prizes.
They are the Olympic gold medallists from both the Beijing 2008 and London 2012 Games, and last year proved they are the best team on the planet by winning the Rabobank Hockey World Cup in front of their adoring home fans in The Hague.
Since that glorious success, Netherlands have claimed a bronze medal at the Argentina Champions Trophy (December 2014), a first place finish at the FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final in Antwerp back in July as well as a silver medal at August’s Unibet EuroHockey Championships in London in August.
The Netherlands have a vast array of attacking options to call upon, including Naomi van As, Eva de Goede, Lidewij Welten and 2014 FIH Player of the Year Ellen Hoog. Combined with a rock-solid defence marshalled by 2014 FIH Goalkeeper of the Year Joyce Soembroek and the talents of superstar captain Maartje Paumen, the Netherlands will be, as always, the team to beat in Rosario.
Key player: Ellen Hoog. Alongside inspirational team captain Maartje Paumen, 29-year-old midfielder Hoog is a stand-out talent among a hugely gifted group of individuals. Hoog produced a series of exceptional performances to help her team lift the Rabobank Hockey World Cup on home soil, being named Player of the Tournament in the process. She was crowned FIH Player of the Year for 2014, joining an elite group of players that includes two of her team mates – Maartje Paumen (2011, 2012) and Naomi van As (2009, jointly with Argentina’s Luciana Aymar).
3x Olympic Gold medallists (1984, 2008, 2012)
Olympic Silver medallists (2004)
3x Olympic Bronze medallists (1988, 1996, 2000)
7x World champions (1974, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1986, 1990, 2006, 2014)
Hockey World League champions (2012-14 Edition)
6x Champions Trophy winners (1987, 2000, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2011)
8x European Champions (1984, 1987, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2005, 2009, 2011)
Additional information: In October, the Royal Dutch Hockey Association (KNHB) named legendary Australia international Alyson Annan as the new Head Coach of the Netherlands women. Annan – widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time and a central figure in the Hockeyroos team that won two Olympic gold medals and two World Cups between 1994 and 2000 – has moved into the position vacated by Sjoerd Marijne, who stepped away from the role following the Netherlands’ shoot-out defeat to England in the final of the European championship in August. Double FIH Player of the Year Annan has been a long-time resident in the Netherlands and, since ending her playing career in 2003, has held numerous coaching roles. In 2004 she was Assistant Coach to Marc Lammers, who guided the Netherlands women to a silver medal at the Olympic Games in Athens. More recently, Annan has been coaching the Dutch junior women’s team and Amsterdam H&BC men, the latter making her the first female Head Coach in the history of the top Dutch men’s division.