Netherlands v Argentina (men) – HC Union, Nijmegen (NED)
A three minute, three goal burst by the Netherlands turned the second match against Argentina on its head after the South American team had taken an early lead.
Argentina took the lead after Agustin Mazilli played a lovely ball into the circle and Martin Ferreira was able to send a reverse shot past Pirmin Blaak in the Dutch goal.
Going into the half-time break, Argentina looked the more comfortable. Unlike the previous day’s encounter, their defence had looked strong and in control and the goal from Ferreira had given the team a cushion.
However, the Dutch team that trooped off the pitch at half-time came back with a renewed vigour and a sense of attacking purpose that swiftly paid dividends.
First, Jonas de Geus was able to deflect home a penalty corner. This gave the host nation attacking momentum and 60 seconds later Steijn van Heijningen scored his first international goal. It is one that will be long remembered by both the player and the spectators. Van Heijningen took the ball wide to the left and at the very edge of the Argentina circle, before unleashing a shot that flew past Tomas Santiago’s left shoulder.
The third goal was tame in comparison but vital to give the host nation a comfortable lead. Koen Bijen latched onto a ball that was threaded into the circle. He then dinked it over the keeper to give his team a 3-1 lead.
That lead deserved to be extended in the final minute of the third quarter as Terrance Pieters and Derck de Vilder wove their way through the Argentina defence with a neat series of passes that showed a level of understanding between the two players that belied their relatively few number of caps.
No further goals were scored although Argentina's Nicolas della Torre will rue some missed penalty corner opportunities as Argentina really piled on the pressure in the final quarter.
Player of the Match Joep de Mol (NED) said: 'The win was good but the three points were more important. We played well but went 1-0 down. We picked it up in the second half. We attacked the circle far more and with far more aggression in the second half.'
The results mean that Argentina are third in the FIH Hockey Pro League but have finished their campaign. and Netherlands move to fifth, with eight matches still to play.
FIH Hockey Pro League action continues on Saturday 4 June when England men and women host Netherlands at Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre. The women's match begins at 15:00 CEST, the men's is at 17:30 (CEST). The action also continues in Spain at the Estadi Olimpic de Terrassa where Spain men play South Africa at 19:00 CEST and then Spain women host China at 21:30 CEST.
To see the current men’s FIH Pro League Standings, click here.
To see the current women’s FIH Pro League Standings, click here.
FIH Pro League – 2 June 2022
HC Union, Nijmegen (NED)
Result: Men’s Match 56
Netherlands 3, Argentina 1
Player of the Match: Joep de Mol (NED)
Umpires: Dan Barstow (ENG), Christian Blasch (GER) Jonas van t'Hek (NED-video)