Belgium’s women wrapped up the Antwerp stage of the FIH Hockey Pro League with a thrilling come-from-behind victory over Australia.

It took a shootout for Belgium’s men to get the edge over the Kookaburras, while Argentina’s women also beat China in a shootout. That saw them wrapping up their FIH Hockey Pro League campaign currently lying in second spot, but with plenty more action still to come for the other teams.

Argentina’s men concluded their campaign with victory over Spain to overtake the Netherlands at the top of the table, but the Dutch still have four games in hand.

Meanwhile, over in London, there was home joy for both the GB men and women as they got the upper hand on India while Germany’s men trounced Ireland by seven goals. The United States came nail-bitingly close to pulling off an upset against Germany’s women, but it was not to be as Die Danas came back to clinch a 2-1 win.

(Women’s) Australia 1 – 2 Belgium

Belgium delighted the home fans by coming from behind to beat Australia 2-1. The Red Panthers dominated the statistics with seven penalty corners to none, but the Aussies created plenty of opportunity. Belgium made some unforced errors that interrupted their own momentum in the first half, allowing Alice Arnott to put the Hockeyroos ahead in the 17th minute before Alix Gerniers equalised from a penalty corner rebound in the 28th.

Both teams had chances through the second half, but Belgium grew stronger as the game progressed, and Astrid Bonami grabbed the winning goal following an Australian error with just 10 minutes remaining.

The player of the match went to Charlotte Englebert of Belgium who said: “I think with our quality on ball we managed to do well, especially in the second half it was a bit better. I think I’m quite happy with the result, we could have scored maybe one or two goals more.”

(Women’s) Great Britain 3 – 2 India

The home crowd in London were again treated to an exciting encounter as hosts Great Britain beat India 3-2. Charlotte Watson bagged a penalty stroke in the 5th minute and a field goal in the 6th to give GB a commanding position early in the match.

India came back strongly in the second half and Kaur Navneet pulled one back for them with a 35th-minute field goal. The momentum was still with India when Sharmila Devi levelled matters in the 56th minute, but Isabelle Petter found a winner for GB just a minute later.

 

Great Britain’s Flora Peel was named player of the match and said: ““I think games like that are always so cagey. I thought we started really strong and then India are a very good team. They’re very direct and we knew we were going to have to tighten up all over the pitch to be honest. I thought our defenders also did a phenomenal job… I think we did really well to see it out.”

(Women’s) Germany 2 - 1 USA

Germany were made to fight all the way for their 2-1 come-from-behind win against an energetic USA. The Americans started confidently and it was Elizabeth Yeager who once again fired her team ahead early with an 8th-minute drag flick. Germany pegged the USA back in the second quarter and it took a goalkeeping masterclass from Kelsey Bing for the Americans to hold on to their slender lead at half time.

The Germans ramped up the pressure through the second half and eventually breached the USA defence with two deflections from open play, Lisa Nolte at the left post in the 49th minute and Sara Strauss in front of goal two minutes later. The Americans had some late chances and then threw everything forward to earn a penalty corner in the final minute, but they couldn’t convert and Germany hung on for an important win.

Kira Horn was again named player of the match for Germany and said: “We had a tough time in the beginning, especially in the first half I would say, but we fought our way back into the game, so an important win and we’re very happy about it.”

(Women’s) Argentina 1 - 1 China (SO: 3 – 2)

Argentina struggled for 60 minutes to steal a 1-1 draw from China before claiming the bonus point for a 3-2 win in the shootout. The Argentinians had most of the opportunities through the first half, but China defended resolutely to frustrate them before snatching the lead in the 29th minute, Zou Meirong scrambling one in at the goalkeeper’s pads.

The second half continued to be a tight contest with very few clear opportunities. It looked like China had done enough, but Argentina won a penalty corner with five seconds left on the clock and Agustina Gorzelany equalised right at the death. Argentina went on to win the shootout to end their FIH Hockey Pro League campaign on a positive note.

 

The player of the match went to Argentina’s Zoe Diaz who said: “It was a difficult game. We scored at the final, final time and we got the points in the shootout so we are happy with that too… Our legs are a little bit tired but happy that it finished up early, and we are ready for Paris.”

(Men’s) Ireland 0 – 7 Germany

Germany bossed Ireland in a commanding 7-0 win, struggling to score from their first quarter dominance before disrupting Ireland’s pattern and thriving off turnover ball. It was actually when Ireland had a good spell in the second period that Germany struck with field goals from repeated turnovers. Elian Mazkour put Germany ahead in the 17th minute, before two goals in 30 seconds from Malte Hellwig and Marco Miltkau gave Germany a 3-0 lead just before half time.

Goals came at regular intervals in the second half. Miltkau completed his brace in the 32nd minute and Timm Herzbruch was gifted a tap-in from an Irish transition in front of goal in the 42nd. Hellwig added a penalty corner strike in the 52nd minute, and Thies Prinz grabbed a field goal two minutes later to complete the scoring.

German captain Marco Miltkau was named player of the match and said: “Yesterday we were actually playing often quite well and we had a lot of chances, created a lot of corners, but didn’t score. That’s obviously what we did different today. We were really effective in front of the goal.”

(Men’s) Great Britain 3 – 1 India

Hosts Great Britain edged the critical moments in their hard-fought 3-1 win over India. The match started at a blistering pace, India making a circle entry before GB got up the other end for Nicholas Bandurak to score from a sliding deflection, all within the first minute. Bandurak then extended GB’s lead in the 11th.

Abhishek was effective for India early in the third quarter and pulled one back in the 35th minute. GB absorbed the pressure and the match was evenly poised going into the final quarter. Will Calnan gave the hosts the edge with a 47th-minute strike, and India simply couldn’t breach the GB defence from the opportunities they created.

Jacob Draper received the player of the match award for Great Britain and commented on what he thought gave his team the edge: “It was just probably our intensity when we set up I think, it was something we really wanted to focus on.”

 

(Men’s) Belgium 4 – 4 Australia (SO: 3 - 2)

Hosts Belgium and Australia played out an exciting 4-4 draw to share the points, with Belgium going on to win the shootout 3-2 for a bonus point. Both teams played some incredible hockey, Australia taking charge of the first half and Blake Govers firing them ahead with a 12th-minute drag. Tom Boon responded immediately for Belgium from a penalty corner, only for Jake Whetton to restore Australia’s lead with a sharp field goal a minute later. Nathan Ephraums added a penalty corner rebound for the Kookaburras to lead 3-1 at half time.

The Red Lions fought their way back late in the third quarter, Nicolas de Kerpel scoring a good deflection in the 42nd minute, and Alexander Hendrickx finding the equaliser with a drag flick just a minute later. Lachlan Sharp edged Australia in front with nine minutes remaining, but Belgium levelled the scores through Florent van Aubel with two minutes to play, taking the match to a shootout where Belgium prevailed.

Belgium’s Nicolas de Kerpel was named player of the match and said: “I think if you come behind against Australia, and you can come back and compete and win the shootout in front of the home crowd it’s really nice.”

(Men’s) Spain 1 - 2 Argentina

Argentina ended their FIH Hockey Pro League season with a satisfying 2-1 win over Spain. Neither team created much in the first half and Argentina only took the lead in the 20th minute when Bautista Capurro followed play from midfield to the goalkeeper’s pads and finished smartly when Spain failed to clear the ball.

Nicolas Della Torre extended Argentina’s lead in the 41st minute, rocketing home a penalty corner slip to the left. The game came alive late when Spain started pushing for a result, and Cesar Curiel’s goal from penalty corner scraps in the 52nd minute set up an exciting finish. Spain couldn’t find an equaliser though, so Argentina find themselves on top of the table as they head home, although the standings are likely to change with a number of teams having several games in hand.

 

Argentina’s Bautista Capurro was named player of the match and said: “Always Spain is a very close match, and we have the same language so it’s more difficult. It’s always a tough match.”

 

Top Scorer Armband

To celebrate the talented goal-scorers throughout the season the FIH has introduced the Top Scorer Armband, which is being worn by the leading goal-scorers in the men's and women's competitions in the current season, as a visual mark for the fans, and for the players to wear proudly, match after match.

Current Top Scorers:

Women - Yibbi Jansen (NED) (15 goals)

Men – Jip Janssen (NED) (12 goals)

 

To see the current standings in the FIH Hockey Pro League, click here.

FIH Hockey Pro League – 2 June 2024

Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London (UK)

 

WOMEN

Result: Match 49 (W)

Great Britain 3 - 2 India

Player of the match: Flora Peel (GBR)

Umpires: Cookie Tan (SGP), Michiel Otten (NED), Laurine Delforge (BEL-video)

Result: Match 51 (W)

Germany 2 - 1 United States

Player of the match: Kira Horn (GER)

Umpires: Ivona Makar (CRO), Ahmed Elsayed (EGY), Coen Van Bunge (NED-video)

 

MEN

Result: Match 49 (M)

Ireland 0 - 7 Germany

Player of the match: Marco Miltkau (GER)

Umpires: Martin Madden (SCO), Laurine Delforge (BEL), Cookie Tan (SGP-video)

Result: Match 50 (M)

Great Britain 3 - 1 India

Player of the match: Jacob Draper (GBR)

Umpires: Sébastien Michielsen (BEL), Coen Van Bunge (NED), Ivona Makar (CRO-video)

 

Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp (BEL)

WOMEN

Result: Match 50 (W)

Australia 1 - 2 Belgium

Player of the match: Charlotte Englebert (BEL)

Umpires: Sean Edwards (ENG), Kamile Mockaityte (LTU), Ole Ingwersen (GER-video)

Result: Match 52 (W)

Argentina 1 - 1 China (SO: 3 - 2)

Player of the match: Zoe Diaz (ARG)

Umpires: Alison Keogh (IRL), Ole Ingwersen (GER), Annelize Rostron (RSA-video)

 

MEN

Result: Match 51 (M)

Belgium 4 - 4 Australia (SO: 3 - 2)

Player of the match: Nicolas de Kerpel (BEL)

Umpires: Jonas Van'T Hek (NED), Raphaël Adrien (GER), Annelize Rostron (RSA-video)

Result: Match 52 (M)

Spain 1 - 2 Argentina

Player of the match: Bautista Capurro (ARG)

Umpires: Sarah Wilson (SCO), Sean Edwards (ENG), Jonas Van'T Hek (NED-video)