- Netherlands win eighth title after 5-1 victory over Australia
- Argentina hit six to win bronze medal
- Eva de Goede, Marijn Veen and Ye Jiao win individual awards
It was goals galore in Changzhou as the 2018 Wanglibao Hockey Champions Trophy came to its exciting finale.
Netherlands v Australia 5-1 (2-0)
The Netherlands extended their winning streak to 43 as they swept imperiously to victory in the Wanglibao Hockey Champions Trophy Changzhou Wujin.
Australia put up a staunch defence and are a team that is definitely building in stature, confidence and maturity but they were no match for the Netherlands in this form.
The first Netherlands goal came from Xan de Waard. The midfielder latched onto a ball that had rebounded off goalkeeper Ashlee Wells’ pads after a fierce shot from Margot van Geffen.
Just a few minutes later the athlete voted Best Player of the Tournament, Eva de Goede, scored a cracker of a goal to double her team’s lead.
The third quarter came alight as Australia took the game to the Dutch. A sustained period of pressure saw the Hockeyroos rewarded with a penalty corner. Maddy Fitzpatrick made no mistake as she shot past Anne Veenendaal and gave her side more impetus to attack.
For a few minutes there was a glimmer of hope for the Australia side but then Lauren Stam stepped up to slam home a penalty corner and restore the Netherlands advantage.
The fourth quarter saw both teams putting on a fine display of attack and defence. Aerial balls crossed the pitch and were controlled with audacious skill; Jodie Kenny led the Australia defence with courage and young players such as Laura Nunnink and Margot Zuidhof attacked with impunity.
The final two goals came from Maxime Kerstholt and Maria Verschoor, bringing the final score to 5-1.
“It is a question of keeping things as simple as possible,” said Head Coach to the Netherlands Alyson Annan. “We challenge each other to reach new levels and we focus on ourselves and how we can keep getting better.”
Bronze medal match:
Argentina v China 6-0 (2-0)
Quick goals from Delfina Merino and Maria Granatto in the opening five minutes of the bronze medal match were enough to put China on the back foot. The intensity of Las Leonas’ attack saw the host nation unable to replicate the form that initially put them in the bronze medal match.
The second quarter saw Argentina extend their lead as Granatto scored her second goal – a niftily-taken shot that she picked out of the mid-air and batted past Ye Jiao in the China goal.
The second half followed a similar pattern. Argentina continued to probe the China defence but also showed huge discipline to get the entire team behind the ball when play broke down.
Further goals from Julieta Jankunas, Sofia Toccalino and Martina Cavallero ensured that Argentina finsihed 2018 in style..
“We played well at stages throughout this tournament and never doubted our ability to put in a performance like this but we just couldn’t score the goals,” said captain Delfina Merino, speaking after the game. “Today we did and this medal – well today the bronze feels like a gold to us.”
5/6th place play-off
Japan v Great Britain 1-2 (1-2)
Great Britain saved their most convincing performance for their last game of the tournament as they beat Japan 2-1 and ensured that they maintained their mantra of ‘always winning their last game’.
The Cherry Blossoms took the lead against Great Britain in the fourth minute of the game through Yuri Nagai.
Great Britain responded immediately through a Hannah Martin goal and the higher-ranked team went ahead when Amy Costello scored her first goal in a Great Britain shirt.
Best Player: Eva de Goede (NED)
Best Goalkeeper: Ye Jiao (CHN)
Rising Player: Marijn Veen (NED)
Top Scorer: Marijn Veen (NED