The 2020-21 FIH Hockey Pro League resumed in September, and since those initial games, a total of 10 more men's and women's matches took place.
Here's a look where the women's competing countries stand.
October 27, 2020
The Netherlands women, the reigning World, European and FIH Hockey Pro League champions, needed just two minutes to open the scoring against Rio 2016 Olympic champions Great Britain, with Pien Dicke raced through to score her first international goal. However, the visitors competed well throughout and eventually leveled the score in the 43rd minute, with Jo Hunter tapping home from close range.
Hunter’s strike proved enough to earn a draw for her team, although it was The Netherlands who took the bonus point thanks to a fine goalkeeping display from Anne Veenendaal, who was only beaten once in the shootout.
Speaking after the match, Netherlands player Margot van Geffen – who was named Player of the Match - said: "We won our shoot-out, so that is a good result. The match, it wasn't great. A lot of basic things were not good enough, but I think we can learn a lot about this game, so that is a positive point. I think we can play better, definitely, but it has been eight months [since we played], so maybe that is a little excuse."
October 29, 2020
Having been held to a 1-1 draw by Great Britain in their previous meeting before claiming a bonus point by winning the shootout, The Netherlands produced a vastly improved performance to earn a deserved win. Caia van Maasakker opened the scoring with a perfectly executed penalty stroke just two minutes into the contest, with Frederique Matla and Eva de Goede converting penalty
"It was definitely a better performance (than on Tuesday)”, said Netherlands captain Eva de Goede, who was named Player of the Match. "I still think we can play a bit better, but it was our goal to play better today than we did on Tuesday, and we did so that's good. I think each individual played better today, and that is why we played better as a team. But it was mostly [about] our energy, which was way better than on Tuesday. It was more where it should be."
Great Britain captain Laura Unsworth said: "Obviously the Dutch came out a little bit stronger today, playing with a little bit more intensity than they did the other day. I still think as a squad we put in a good performance, and ultimately, we just couldn't put away our chances.”
October 30, 2020
The Belgium and Great Britain women’s teams were the first to take to the field at the Royal Uccle Sports Complex, with the visitors deservingly taking a 1-0 lead in the 11th minute before a penalty stroke from Tiphaine Duquesne restored parity just before half time. The Red Panthers were arguably the better team in the third and fourth quarters but could find no way past Great Britain goalkeeper Sabbie Heesh, who produced a string of excellent saves to seal a draw and trigger a shoot-out for the bonus point.
Heesh continued her fine form in the one-on-ones, being beaten only once to earn a 3-1 shootout victory to move sixth placed Great Britain one point clear of seventh placed Belgium in the league standings.
"I think we are probably a little bit disappointed that we came away with a draw," said Great Britain captain Laura Unsworth. “I think we had a really strong start; we came out really hard and actually we should probably have killed the game in the first quarter as we had some really good chances to make it two or three-nil. It's great that we got the bonus point, which is a step up from the other day when we played the Dutch, but I think that is our overall feeling."
Belgium's Alix Gerniers, who was named Player of the Match, said: "I think we can be happy about the performance. It is a new team, for us it is a new chapter. I think we played well. We tried some new things, and it went quite okay I think."
November 1, 2020
Great Britain’s women made it five points from a possible six against Belgium thanks to a narrow 2-1 win over the Red Panthers. The reigning Rio 2016 Olympic Champions added three points to the two previous claimed, which came courtesy of a 1-1 draw before winning the shootout to claim the bonus point, helping them climb above Australia into fourth position in the FIH Hockey Pro League standings.
Lily Owsley put Great Britain ahead with a well-executed penalty corner deflection just before the end of the first quarter, but Belgium hit back within seconds of the restart when Barbara Nelen volleyed home after an interchange of passes down the right carved open the British defense.
Great Britain’s winner came at the end of the third quarter and was very much against the run of play, with Sarah Robertson deflecting home Anna Toman’s perfect penalty corner pass at the left post.
"I think we are a really resilient team," said Great Britain’s Fiona Crackles, the 19-year-old who was named Player of the Match in only her fourth senior international appearance. “I think we've had four games in about a week, and we are feeling it in our legs, but it didn't really matter. We knew we had to leave nothing in the tank and keep grinding it out because we know that when it comes to the last quarter we can win. We just put everything into it.”
Belgium captain Barbara Nelen said: "I think we made a tactical mistake in quarter three and it cost us a goal, that is why we lost today. I think a draw would have been fair. We had big chances, and I think now it is the time to score them. Of course, we could win, but they finished [their chances] very well."
November 4, 2020
The Netherlands women extended their advantage at the top of the standings with a comprehensive 4-0 triumph over Belgium’s Red Panthers.
The reigning World, European and FIH Hockey Pro League title holders were in dominant form, taking a 1-0 lead three minutes ahead of halftime through Lidewij Welten before Frederique Matla, Lauren Stam and Margot van Geffen - who hit a stunning strike into the roof of Belgium’s goal – netted third quarter goals to all three points against the home favorites.
The Oranje are now six points clear of second placed Argentina at the top of the table, with both teams having played eight matches to date.
"We made it 4-0, but we wanted to score more," said van Geffen, who was named Player of the Match. “We had opportunities to score more, but it was a good game."
Belgium defender Stephanie Vanden Borre, who produced a remarkable goal line clearance to deny Malou Pheninckx late in the game, said: "When we were 1-0 down, we felt we could get back in the game, but we really lost it. We went down, we didn't want to play anymore, we were hiding, then you [concede] three goals in five minutes], which is really [poor]."
Per the FIH:
The following points will be awarded for each match:
- Three (3) points to the winner in normal time
- One (1) point to the winner of a shootout following a draw plus one (1) bonus point, making a total of two (2) points
- One (1) point to the loser of the shootout, in the event of a draw
- No points to the loser of a match in normal time
During the season up until the Grand Final, teams will be ranked in the FIH Pro League table by the percentage of points gained relative to the maximum number possible to have attained at any given time.
For example, a team who have played six matches can achieve a maximum of 18 points from winning all six matches. If they have achieved 9 points after six matches, they will be ranked in the league table based on a score of 50%. The aim of this system is to more easily illustrate team performances at the times in the season when different teams have played significantly different numbers of matches.
Update November 5: With the travel constraints governed by the regulations in place in Germany, Belgium and China due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) global health pandemic, the International Hockey Federation (FIH), on request of the traveling teams involved, decided to postpone the following FIH Hockey Pro League matches:
- Great Britain vs Germany (initially planned on November 14 and 15, 2020)
- China vs Belgium (initially planned on January 23 and 24, 2021)
FIH will keep on monitoring the evolution of the global health situation closely and define, together with the teams concerned and its broadcast partners, new dates for these matches when it will be possible to do so.
FIH CEO Thierry Weil said: “While it’s always a pity to have to take such decisions, we fully understand the situation and this is the most appropriate course of action to date. We do hope that the global health situation will improve soon and our thoughts are with all those who are affected at the moment. We’re looking forward to enjoying international hockey matches next year again!”
Season 2 of the FIH Hockey Pro League – the annual global League involving the world’s best international teams, both men and women – started in January 2020 and has been extended until May 2021 because of the pandemic.