FIH: Hockeyroos drop China, Dutch women take down India, while Argentina blast Belgium in both affairs

Earlier in the day at the ongoing mini-tournament in Rourkela, India, Australia’s women managed to get the better of China for the first time since the Tokyo Olympics and the Netherlands notched up yet another victory after a fiercely contested encounter with the tenacious Indian side. 

Hours later, in Santiago del Esetero, the Argentina men came out with confidence to defeat a young Belgian team by 4-1 thanks to two goals from speedster Nicolas Keenan. Just after, a classy and clinical Argentina women’s side blasted five past the Belgium red panthers to close out the evening with a home sweep. Victoria Manuele scored the game’s opener and her first international goal as icing on the cake.  

The Leonas sported a black band in honour of the recent passing of former Argentina women’s player Gabriela Pando. Pando played for the Leonas from 1989 to 1998 and won a 1995 Pan American Games gold medal and 1992 Olympic silver medal. 


(Women’s) Australia 2 – 0 China

Australia last beat China in an International match at the Olympic Games on 26 July 2021, but they broke their losing streak with a hard-fought 2-0 win on Wednesday. The Hockeyroos attacked throughout the first half and enjoyed significant advantage in territory and possession, while China trusted their defensive structures and relied on rapid counterattacks for their limited opportunities. Xinhuan Li had plenty of work to do in the Chinese goal, denying Grace Young from close range with an excellent save. Grace Stewart eventually broke the deadlock in the 29th minute, tapping in a recycled penalty corner at the right post for a 1-0 lead at half-time.

The third quarter was hotly contested as China finally enjoyed some good possession, but they couldn’t find a goal against a resolute Australian defence. The Hockeyroos soaked up even more pressure in the fourth quarter, Jocelyn Bartrum shutting down a dangerous one-on-one at the top of the circle in the 47th minute and then making another save two minutes later. China gave it everything at the death and pulled off their keeper with six minutes to play, but the move backfired when Stephanie Kershaw found the net for Australia after 57 minutes to put the match beyond doubt.

Alice Arnott of Australia received back-to-back player of the match awards and reflected on her team’s progress: “It was good, I felt like the game went a lot smoother for us instead of the first one against China. We took a lot out of that game and brought it into this one, so yeah, very happy.”


(Women’s) Netherlands 1 – 0 India 

The Netherlands made heavy weather of their 1-0 win over India who were playing in front of a passionate home crowd. The Dutch probed throughout the first half, but it took them 27 minutes to find a goal. They dispossessed India inside the 23-yard area and got a quick shot away for Felice Albers to use her lightning reflexes to bat in off her reverse stick from Savita’s save.

India had a busy third quarter, making repeated circle entries and winning five penalty corners but they couldn’t beat the Netherlands defence. The Dutch had opportunities of their own in a frantic period towards the end of the quarter but couldn’t score, even with Savita yellow carded in bizarre circumstances. Her defence were caught high and she accidentally kicked the ball far outside her circle after stepping out to slap it to safety.  Savita was back in action in the fourth quarter, making amends with a flurry of great saves from four penalty corners to keep India in touch, but while there was plenty of action at both ends there were no more goals scored.

The player of the match went to Felice Albers of the Netherlands who acknowledged the electric atmosphere in the stadium: “I think the crowd was amazing today. Thank you for all the support, we really enjoyed the game, and thanks India. It was a tough game, India defend really well so a big compliment to them, and I think it’s a really strong team.”


(Men’s) Argentina 2 – 0 Belgium

An experienced home side made it tough waters for a young Belgium side in the opener of the Santiago del Estero hosted games. Argentina’s hypnotic movements of possession gave the Leones good control of the tempo and kept Belgium keeper Simon Vandenbroucke busy. Nicolas Keenan opened the scoring in the final seconds of the first quarter with a brilliant upright reverse blast after Tomas Habif delivered a brilliant ball through a chaotic circle. Red Lions forward Thomas Crols picked Nicolas della Torre’s pocket in the second quarter and had an uncontested shot at goal but the blast ricocheted between Tomas Santiago’s kickers and scooted wide of the net. 

Argentina continued to show their dominance in the second half, despite not finding the back of the net on a series of penalty corners. Maico Casella doubled the lead finishing at the back post with no pressure after some quick passing from Lucas Martinez and Santiago Tarazona to make it 2-0. Belgium did not let up though as gritty work from Roman Duvekot forced Argentina’s Juan Catan to make an errant touch on his way back to the circle and Thibeau Stockbroekx provided the effort for a Belgium goal. A contested aerial into the Belgian circle then forced a video referral on right of territory for Keenan versus an encroaching Vandenbrouke but no advice possible left Argentina with the originally called penalty corner.  Della Torre rippled the mesh to make it 3-1 for the Leones. Keenan added a second for himself and fourth for Argentina late in the game for a final score of 4-1. 

Player of the match honors went to Argentina double goal scorer Nicolas Keenan who said after the match: “We knew (Belgium) were not a complete team tonight so we had to take it really seriously. I am happy that the team took it very seriously and got the win.”


(Women’s) Argentina 5 – 0 Belgium

The Leonas put on a clinical performance, 5-0 over the visiting Belgian Red Panthers, to make it a sweep in Santiago del Estero following the men’s victory.  A younger Belgian line up, including seven faces from the 2023 Junior World Cup silver medal winning team, showed good structure and poise but struggled to manage the experience and crafty individual skills of the dynamic Leonas. Victoria Manuele was the first to put Argentina on the board in just the third minute, finishing brilliantly on the backhand to mark her first international goal in just her fourth appearance. Patient possession just inside the Belgian half allowed Argentina the control to pick their moments. Just before halftime Maria Granatto did all the work to spin the Belgian defence and commit keeper Elena Sotgiu and ultimately allow Celina di Santo to redirect and make it 2-0 for the Leonas. 

The offensive firepower continued as Agustina Albertarrio put a back-hand blast in to make it 3-0, while Agustina Gorzelany’s drag flick at the end of the third quarter made it 4-0. With Carolien Jakus off with a green card, the Leonas put on a master class on a penalty corner. Gorzelany delivered to the back post for a Trinchinetti stunner as the deflection rippled the mesh for 5-0. Noa Schreurs’ one-timer from Louise Dewaet almost put Belgium on the board but the ball rang the outside of the Argentina post. 

Argentina’s Agostina Alonso was named Player of the Match and commented: “I am very happy with the team’s performance. Scoring five goals when you are playing at this level is always great. I am happy for us to start the year this way.” 


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 – Jip Janssen (NED) (6 goals)


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

FIH Pro League – 14 February 2024

Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium, Rourkela, India (IND) 


Result: Match 20 (W)
Australia 2 – 0 China
Player of the match: Alice Arnott (AUS)
Umpires: Junko Wagatsuma (JPN), Martin Madden (SCO), Aleisha Neumann (AUS-reserve), David Tomlinson (NZL-video)

Result: Match 21 (W)
Netherlands 1 – 0 India
Player of the match: Felice Albers (NED)
Umpires: Aleisha Neumann (AUS), David Tomlinson (NZL), Martin Madden (SCO-reserve), Kristy Robertson (AUS-video)

Result: Match 13 (M)
Argentina 4 – 1 Belgium
Player of the match: Nicolas Keenan (ARG)
Umpires: Sean Rapaport (RSA), Tyler Klenk (CAN), Irene Presenqui (ARG-reserve), Benjamin Peters (USA-video)

Result: Match 19 (W)
Argentina 5 – 0 Belgium
Player of the match: Agostina Alonso (ARG)
Umpires: Maggie Giddens (USA), Victoria Pazos (PAR), Benjamin Peters (USA-reserve), Irene Presenqui (ARG-video)


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