Defending champions the Netherlands delivered another commanding performance as FIH Hockey Pro League action continued in Bhubaneswar, India on Friday.
The Dutch were all class as they romped to a 6-2 victory over Australia while later in the day, India gave their home fans plenty to cheer about with a hard-fought win over the United States.
(Women’s) Netherlands 6 - 2 Australia
The Netherlands took full control of proceedings in their 6-2 win over Australia. They asked plenty of questions of the Australian defence throughout the match, connecting with long diagonal through-balls, making textbook inter-passes between players, and displaying moments of individual brilliance that all resulted in regular circle entries. Marijn Veen opened the scoring for the Dutch after seven minutes with a deft two-touch goal, popping the ball up and then lofting it into the top left corner from the reverse stick. Frédérique Matla then extended the lead just two minutes later, getting in front of the defence to slap in after a devastating baseline run from Marleen Jochems, and Yibbi Jansen added a scorching drag flick off a penalty corner to put the Dutch three in front. Australia finished the half with a flurry of penalty corners, but it took a deflection off a first-wave runner for Tatum Stewart’s rocketed drag flick to beat Josine Koning in the Dutch goal, making it 3-1 at halftime.
Jansen added her second drag flick after 39 minutes, taking her tournament tally to an impressive 11 goals. Veen then completed her hat-trick with two quick goals, the first as the Dutch intercepted a poor free hit at the top of the Australian circle in the 48th minute, and the second from a somewhat fortuitous deflection off a defender’s stick a minute later. Australia pulled one back in the 52nd minute, Stephanie Kershaw intercepting a loose Dutch overhead and driving 50 yards up-field before two quick passes found Grace Stewart for a tap-in, but that did little to dent the Netherlands’ emphatic winning margin.
Marijn Veen of the Netherlands was awarded player of the match for her hat-trick as said: “We played really good as a team so I’m happy with the win. It’s always nice to score but I’m more happy with the team performance.”
(Women’s) India 3 - 1 USA
India delighted the home crowd with a 3-1 win in a fast-paced encounter against the USA. The Americans looked to attack through the first half, but they turned over possession through impatience and inaccuracy to give the Indians plenty of advantage. Vandana Katariya put India ahead off a failed USA clearance in the ninth minute, volleying the ball in after it popped above her head from a goalmouth scramble. Deepika extended India’s lead with a glorious team goal, collecting a pass in the circle at full stretch after a good build-up and then recovering well to fire home off her reverse stick.
The USA fought back in the third quarter with Sanne Caarls pouncing in the 42nd minute when India failed to clear their circle. The fourth quarter was played at full throttle as the USA sought an equaliser and India tried to find a two-goal cushion. Deepika ultimately gave India the last word, carrying the ball some 60m, beating four defenders outside the circle and passing to Salima Tete for the tap-in at the right post and the 3-1 win.
India’s Deepika picked up the player of the match award and said afterwards: “I think we played really good and the team is doing a really good effort. So it’s only about the team effort, and thank you to the supporters, it’s for you also.”
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) (11 goals)
Men - Thierry Brinkman (NED), Tomas Domene (ARG), Sam Ward (GBR), Struan Walker (GBR), Terrance Pieters (2 goals)
To see the current standings in the FIH Hockey Pro League, click here.
FIH Hockey Pro League – 9 February 2024
Kalinga Hockey Stadium, Bhubaneswar, India (IND)
Result: Match 15 (W)
Netherlands 6 - 2 Australia
Player of the match: Marijn Veen (NED)
Umpires: Kelly Hudson (NZL), Xiaoying Liu (CHN), Raghu Prasad (IND-video)
Result: Match 16 (W)
India 3 - 1 United States
Player of the match: Deepika (IND)
Umpires: James Unkles (AUS), Rawi Anbananthan (MAS), Xiaoying Liu (CHN-video)