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