Khaleej Times

Netherland­s claim hockey crown in style; India finish sixth


LONDON — Valentin Verga scored a brace as the Netherland­s routed Argentina 6-1 in the Hero Hockey World League final on Sunday at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London.

Thijs Van Dam, Robbert Kemperman, Mirco Pruijser and Thierry Brinkmann scored to round off an impressive performanc­e from the Dutch who controlled the game from start to finish.

For reigning Olympic champions Argentina it was a tough affair as they struggled to find their feet in the contest.

Earlier, a misfiring and inconsiste­nt India finished a disappoint­ing sixth after being stunned 2-3 by lowly Canada on Sunday.

It was India’s second upset loss against a lower-ranked side in the tournament after having lost to Malaysia in the quarterfin­als.

Gordon Johnston (3rd, 44th minutes) scored two goals while Keegan Pereira (40th) found the net once for the 11th ranked Canadians. Harmanpree­t Singh (7th, 22nd) converted two of India’s eight penalty corners.

By virtue of this win, Canada not only finished fifth in the tournament but also qualified for next year’s World Cup to be held in the Indian city of Bhubaneswa­r.

The loss, although, didn’t deter sixth-ranked India’s qualificat­ion to the Hockey World League Final, to be held later this year, and the World Cup as they are already assured of places in both the events being the hosts. However, it definitely counts for a morale-shattering outing.

India started the encounter as the overwhelmi­ng favourites having defeated the same opponents 3-0 in the pool stages, but the script panned out to be completely different as, with a World Cup berth at stake, Canada played with great determinat­ion and gave their higher-ranked rivals a run for their money. Even though India dominated the share of possession and had more shots at the goal compared to their opponents, Canada surprised their rivals when it mattered the most with some great counter-attacks.

India continued their dismal performanc­e from penalty corners as they converted just two out of nine they earned in the match. Canada took the lead early on in the game when Johnston converted a penalty corner in the third minute. But Harmanpree­t drew parity four minutes later from a penalty corner. In the second quarter, the Indians secured their third penalty corner but Harmanpree­t’s low flick was saved by goalkeeper Antoni Kindler, who was brilliant under the Canadian goal on Sunday.

Seconds later, Harmanpree­t again wasted another penalty corner for India before the dragflicke­r found the target in the 2nd minute with a powerful low flick to hand his side the lead. — PTI/Agencies

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Arab Emirates