It was a night of shoot-outs as three of Monday’s four matches in the FIH Hockey Pro League finished all square in regulation time. While they certainly didn’t have things their own way, Argentina’s men wrapped up their FIH Hockey Pro League campaign with a 4-2 shoot-out victory over New Zealand in Antwerp after finishing their match all square on 2-2. It also took a shoot-out to determine the winner in Spain’s showdown with the Netherlands men in London. The Dutch emerged victorious after edging the shoot-out 3-1 but the two points mean catching Great Britain at the top of the table could be tricky. In the women’s matches Barbara Nelen celebrated her 300th cap for Belgium, but her side were edged out 3-2 in a shoot-out against the Hockeyroos. That meant the Australians finished their Pro League campaign top of the table for now. In the only result in regulation time, Germany’s women claimed a convincing 4-1 victory over Great Britain in London.
(Men’s) New Zealand vs Argentina 2-2 (SO: 2-4)
Having lost by a massive margin of six goals to one last Friday, New Zealand were determined to make amends when they met the same opposition three days later.
The Black Sticks looked like a different team, playing with much more confidence. They earned their first penalty corner in the second quarter, Kane Russell’s powerful flick to the keeper’s left handing his side the lead.
With just over five minutes left in the half, four-goal hero from their last encounter, Tomas Domene, dragged the ball into the bottom left of goal off an Argentinian penalty corner for the equaliser. But the lead didn’t last long after Sean Findlay received the ball in the circle and crossed it in for Hayden Phillips to tap in for the lead just ahead of the half-time break.
Nicolas Della Torre then levelled the scores off a penalty corner in the third quarter. While New Zealand were awarded one final penalty corner with 10 seconds left on the clock, the shot went wide, taking the match to a shoot-out, which Los Leones edged 4-2.
Nicolas Keenan was named Player of the Match and said: “Today New Zealand was much stronger. I think we had the same circle penetrations, but we couldn’t capitalise. So we need to get more corners and more goals. The other day every time we went in, there was a goal or corner but today it was a little bit harder.”
(Men’s) Spain vs Netherlands 2-2 (SO: 1-3)
An entertaining first quarter brought Spanish keeper Rafael Revilla into action on several occasions as the Dutch pushed for the opener. But it was the Spanish who eventually scored first in the second period. Borja Lacalle’s excellent run into the D, delivered the ball for Gerard Clapes to provide a beautiful finish and hand the Spanish the lead.
With three minutes remaining in the half, Max de Bie hit the post. But teammate Thierry Brinkman made sure his side were on the scoresheet just a minute later, skillfully controlling the ball in front of goal and firing it in for the equaliser. Brinkman was back in scoring action in the third quarter after a defensive slip by the Spanish, his reserve stick shot beating the keeper and taking his side 2-1 ahead.
But Spain levelled matters within the first two minutes of the final quarter, Marc Miralles scoring off a penalty corner. The teams remained deadlocked on 2-2, however, taking the match into a shoot-out which the Dutch won 3-1.
Jasper Brinkman was named Player of the Match and said: “It was quite a tough game. We made it hard on ourselves. We didn’t play that good, it was sloppy on the ball, but after all if you win on a shoot-out that’s quite OK.”
(Women’s) Belgium vs Australia 1-1 (SO: 2-3)
Fresh off their 7-0 drubbing of New Zealand a day earlier, Belgium came out firing in the first quarter, earning a penalty corner within the first 45 seconds of the match. They couldn’t capitalise, however, and it was the Hockeyroos who struck first. Amy Lawton played the ball into space in the circle and a reaching Stephanie Kershaw provided the finish to take her side 1-0 up.
After numerous opportunities to score, Belgium finally found the breakthrough off a penalty corner in the second quarter, Stephanie Vanden Borre firing it into the bottom right corner.
After a breathless encounter, Australia were awarded a penalty stroke in the final five minutes of the match, but Claire Colwell didn’t get hold of it and Elena Sotgiu made an easy save. That meant the sides were deadlocked at 1-1 by the final hooter, taking the match into yet another shoot-out. After a see-saw series of attempts, it was the Aussies who claimed the 3-2 win.
Amy Lawton was named Player of the Match and said: “Obviously it’s awesome to get two games out against them – they’re a great team. We’ve been sticking to our process, obviously just coming off playing the Dutch and now playing Belgium, two very great teams so it was awesome.”
(Women’s) Great Britain vs Germany 1-4
Great Britain were caught off-guard in the first minute of the match, allowing an unmarked Emma Davidsmeyer to work her into the D on the baseline and pass back to Hanna Granitzki to score for Germany.
Jette Fleschütz’s great solo effort led to the Germans doubling their lead just a few minutes later. A GB counterattack in the second quarter then saw Elena Rayer running three quarters of the length of the pitch to slot in a reserve stick strike and open the home team’s account.
Viktoria Huse’s shot off a penalty corner hit the GB keeper’s foot as it popped up into goal for Germany’s third at the start of the second half.
GB took off their keeper to push for more goals in the dying minutes of the match, but the Germans capitalised, Pauline Heinz slotting in their fourth from an acute angle to seal the 4-1 win.
Jette Fleschütz was named Player of the Match and said: “I think we did a great job. I’m very proud because it wasn’t easy. It was a tough game and we kept fighting. Now we’re looking forward to our next game.”
To see the current standings in the FIH Hockey Pro League, click here.
FIH Pro League – 19 June 2023
Lee Valley Tennis and Hockey Centre, London (GBR)
Result: Men’s Match 55
Spain 2-2 Netherlands (SO: 1-3)
Player of the Game: Jasper Brinkman (NED)
Umpires: Tyler Klenk (CAN), Alison Keogh (IRL), Céline Martin-Schmets (BEL-video)
Result: Women’s Match 55
Great Britain 1-4 Germany
Player of the Game: Jette Fleschütz (GER)
Umpires: German Montes de Oca (ARG), Céline Martin-Schmets (BEL), Alison Keogh (IRL-video)
Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein – Antwerp (BEL)
Result: Men’s Match 56
New Zealand 2-2 Argentina (SO: 2-4)
Player of the Game: Nicolas Keenan (ARG)
Umpires: Coen van Bunge (NED), Xiaoying Liu (CHN), Martin Madden (SCO-video)
Result: Women’s Match 56
Belgium 1-1 Australia (SO: 2-3)
Player of the Game: Amy Lawton (AUS)
Umpires: Annelize Rostron (RSA), Michelle Meister (GER), Martin Madden (SCO-video)