Netherlands claim Hockey World League Title
The Netherlands have been crowned as the inaugural winners of the Hockey World League thanks to a stunning 5-1 win against Australia in the tournament final in San Miguel de Tucuman, Argentina.
A sell-out crowd watch a fiercely contested match as the Olympic champions fought back from Anna Flannagan’s early penalty corner strike to emerge as winners courtesy of second half strikes from Maartje Paumen (2), Roos Drost, Kitty van Male and a brilliant solo goal from player of the tournament Lidewij Welten.
Australia came into the game buzzing with confidence following a string of wonderful performances, but how they would cope against the Olympic champions was anyone’s guess. However, fans both here in Tucuman and those watching on the global broadcast soon found out that they were more than capable of trading blows with their illustrious rivals.
The Hockeyroos shocked their opponents in the 6th minute of the match when Anna Flanagan netted with a deflected penalty corner drag-flick, a lead that lasted until the early stages second half when the European giants turned the match on its head with two goals in the 43rd minute. Netherlands captain Maartje Paumen netted the leveller with a low penalty corner drag flick before pacey winger Roos Drost surged into the circle from the left and slipped the ball between the legs of Australia keeper Rachael Lynch.
Australia rallied hard to restore parity, but a 52nd minute field goal from Kitty van Male took the score to 3-1 to provide some breathing space.
Paumen claimed her second of the game and her team’s fourth with another brilliant penalty corner effort before Welten produced a moment of magic to move past three Australian players before lashing home a ferocious strike to seal the win.
Welten’s goal was a fitting way to end what has been a sensational first edition of the Hockey World League, with the teams now switching their attentions to next year’s Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.
5th: New Zealand
Player of the Tournament: Lidewij Welten (NED)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Maddie Hinch (ENG)
Top scorer: Maartje Paumen (NED) – 6 goals.
About the International Hockey Federation (FIH)
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is the world governing body for the sport of hockey, recognized by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). Founded in 1924, FIH today has 127 member National Associations. For further information about FIH, please visit us at: www.fih.ch