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HOCKEY - FIH Pro League News
FIH Hockey Pro League 2022/23: action resumes in Australia
Sports Bulletin Report Sydney: The FIH Hockey Pro League returns on 10 February as Australia will host China and Germany in the women’s competition at Olympic Park Hockey Center in Sydney, to start off the second phase of the 2022/23 season. The men’s competition will resume on 28 February in Hobart with the Kookaburras hosting Argentina and Spain in the first mini-tournament following the conclusion of the men’s World Cup. Season recap (women’s) In the women’s competition, reigning champions Argentina currently sit at the top of the table having taken 14 points from their 8 games thus far. Argentina’s quest to defend their title faces great threat from Olympic and World Champions Netherlands, who have stayed perfect so far registering 4 wins in their 4 games to sit second in the table with 12 points. Belgium, Germany and Great Britain are the other 3 teams to have also played 4 matches so far this season. Belgium and Germany have both registered 5 points thus far, but the Red Panthers sit a spot above the Danas thanks to their superior goal difference. Great Britain are yet to register any points this season having lost all 4 of their contests, but have three quarters of the season left to make their climb up the table. With the mini-tournament starting in Australia on 10 February, Australia and China will play their first set of matches alongside Germany, who will be playing in their second mini-tournament. New Zealand will then host USA and China in Wellington, in a mini-tournament starting on 18 February, which will be the first set of matches for the hosts and the Americans, while China will be playing in their second mini-tournament. Season recap (men’s) In the men’s competition, positions 1 to 7 are separated by just 4 points, as the competition has been incredibly stiff so far. Great Britain hold the top spot with 9 points as they remain unbeaten in the competition, having won one match and drawing three, managing to win the bonus points in all three shoot-outs. India, Germany, Spain and Argentina all find themselves on 8 points, but Argentina have already played 8 matches, while India, Germany and Spain have played 4 matches each. Defending champions Netherlands currently find themselves in seventh place, having taken 5 points from their 4 games, one spot below season 3 runners-up Belgium, whose 2 wins and 2 losses sees them occupy the sixth place on 6 points. With the mini-tournament being played in Australia from 28 February to 5 March, the hosts will become the final team to play their first set of matches in the 2022/23 season, alongside Spain, who will be playing their second mini-tournament and Argentina, who will play their penultimate set of 4 matches. Following the conclusion of games in Australia, the action will shift to the Birsa Munda Stadium in Rourkela where India will host Australia and world champions Germany, with all teams playing their second mini-tournaments.
Dutch women, GB men victorious to open Argentina Pro League games
Sports Bulletin Report Laussanne (Switzerland): A goal each from Freeke Moes and Yibbi Jansen in the opening half gave the Netherlands women the 2-1 victory over Great Britain in Santiago del Estero, Argentina. The game marked the 100th international for Great Britain’s Amy Costello. Great Britain vs Netherlands (women & men) – Santiago del Estero, Argentina A lightened Netherlands women’s lineup faced off with Great Britain on neutral territory in Argentina and the Dutch came away with a 2-1 victory. The two teams last met at the 2020 Olympic Games semifinal and while in both encounters the Dutch, tonight it was credit to a resilient defensive unit back-stopped by Maddie Hinch and Sabbie Heesh, who split duties in the Great Britain net. It was a milestone game for 24-year-old Amy Costello who celebrated her 100th international cap that includes 67 games with Scotland, while Fiona Crackles celebrated her 50th split between England and Great Britain. In the opening quarter, a long run by Maria Verschoor led to two saves from Heesh, in goal for Great Britain, but Freeke Moes made good of the uncontested space and rebound to make it 1-0 for the Netherlands just eight minutes into the game. Against the flow Great Britain were able find an equalizer after a Sophie Hamilton shot was redirected by Isabelle Petter to catch Josine Koning caught on her line. It didn’t take long for the Dutch to regain control of the game as Yibbi Jansen’s class-act drag flick made it 2-1 in the 18th minute. Moes drew a third penalty corner late in the second quarter but the subbed-in Hinch denied Jansen’s flick and then a blast from Marente Barensten.  Great Britain had a chance to draw level after Hamilton found the foot of Dutch midfielder Barensten with seven seconds to go. The flick from Grace Balsdon was steered away by the glove of Koning to keep the game in favour of the Netherlands at half time. Hinch was called to duty a number of times in the fourth quarter but when Felice Albers’ pass found Mariyn Veen, it was a next level save to deny the Dutch. Moments later Hinch was helped by Giselle Ansley on the post who batted away another Jansen drag flick. In the men’s match up the first half seemed destined for a scoreless affair as both Great Britain and the Netherlands traded possession and chances. Zachary Wallace broke the deadlock for Great Britain in the 28th minute as he capitalized on a very quick free hit down the middle of the pitch. Wallace streaked right in to the circle and unleashed a back-hand shot that beat Pirmin Blaak low, glove side. With 15 seconds to go in the second quarter, Rupert Shipperley made quick work of his defender and fed Phil Roper, whose sliding touch made it 2-0 for Great Britain. The Dutch edged in possession in the first half but the third quarter showed a lot more possession strides for Great Britain. Late in the third quarter patient ball movement around the Dutch circle gave Jack Waller a blast at goal was brilliantly deflected by Sam Ward but stood up by Blaak. The second shot from Roper hit the foot of Jip Janssen on the line to give GB a penalty stroke. Wallace finished with class from the spot to secure the third and eventual final goal. “It was our first match as a team since the Tokyo Olympics and then for a lot of us since the Commonwealth Games,” said Great Britain’s Zacharay Wallace. “We didn’t really know where we were as a team so we have been training hard the last few months so it was nice to see whether all the hard work and training paid off.” FIH Pro League – 13 December 2022 Santiago del Estero, Argentina (ARG) Result: Women’s Match 7 Great Britain 1, Netherlands 2 Player of the Game: Xan de Waard (NED) Umpires: Laurine Delforge (BEL), Maggie Giddens (USA), Federico Garcia (URU-reserve), Ayanna McClean (TTO-video) Great Britain 3, Netherlands 0 Player of the Match: Zachary Wallace (GBR) Umpires: Federico Garcia (URU), Sean Rapaport (RSA), Ayanna McClean (TTO-reserve), Laurine Delforge (BEL-video)
Venues and timings confirmed for FIH Pro League 2022-23
Sports Bulletin Report Lausanne (Switzerland):-The International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the FIH Hockey Pro League participating nations have confirmed the venues for the season 2022-23. According to a press release of FIH, the timing and venues for the Season 2022-23 of FIH’s global league for national teams  ‘Hockey at its Best’ have been confirmed, which will run from 28 October 2022 to 5 July 2023. Australian city Newcastle Hobart, Mendoza, Santiago del Estero (Argentine), Belgium: Antwerp (Belgium), London (England), Bhubaneswar, Rourkela (India), Eindhoven, Amsterdam (Holland) and Christchurch, Wellington (New Zealand) will stage the pro-hockey league’s fixtures. As already announced in March, a new schedule - based on a series of “mini-tournaments” where several teams will gather in one venue to play two matches against each other - will come into force for this new Pro League season. This format will have a major positive impact on players’ welfare and the environment, thanks to a substantial reduction in the amount of travel needed for each team and the officials. Another great advantage of this revised format is that it increases the number of dates available for athletes to compete in their domestic leagues and club competitions. Furthermore, this season will see the implementation of a promotion-relegation principle for the very first time, with the team finishing last being relegated, while the team winning the 2022 FIH Hockey Nations Cup – a new event – being promoted for the 2023-2024 Pro League season. FIH CEO Thierry Weil said: “The integration of the promotion-relegation principle will substantially add to the excitement around Pro League. Also, the new format is beneficial to everyone, athletes, National Associations, clubs and fans in particular. We’re glad to welcome some new venues for this season; this is great for the growth of our sport! We’re very much looking forward to the fourth edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League”. 
Netherlands hit super six against China and India finish campaign on a high against USA
Sports Bulletin Report Lausanne (Switzerland):-It was a bitter sweet moment for USA's Lauren Moyer as she celebrated 100 international caps for her team but then suffered a 4-0 loss at the hands of an impressive India team. For the Eves this was a great result as it meant they finished their first season in the FIH Pro League in third place. United States v India (women) – HC Rotterdam, Rotterdam (NED) The first quarter was goalless although Devi Shamila had a golden opportunity to score when she received the ball with only goalkeeper Kelsey Bing to beat. Shamila scuffed the shot and USA breathed a sigh of relief. For their part, USA won two penalty corners were unable to convert. The second quarter also remained goalless although India created a number of chances, mainly in the form of penalty corners. Three penalty corners in quick succession were all wasted as either the injection or the trap were not good enough to provide Gurjit Kaur with a clean shooting opportunity. The breakthrough came in the 39th minute when Katariya Vandana was on the scoresheet for the second consecutive day. She got the slightest deflection to a Gurjit Kaur penalty corner strike. The shot was hard and on target and the touch from Vandana was just enough to send the ball home past Kelsey Bing. That goal opened the door for India. There were two more goals in quick succession, firstly from Vandana and then Sonika. In both cases, the ball was played swiftly from player to player and the final pass put the striker in front of the goal. The fourth goal came courtesy of a fabulous surging run down the Indian left hand side of the pitch by Nikki Pradhan. Her pass found Kumari Sangita, who only had the goalkeeper to beat. A good advantage by the umpire Bruce Bale, meant Sangita was able to continue the move and slot the ball home. Player of the Match,  Tete Salima (IND), said: 'That was a tough game. Today was our last [FIH Pro League] match so we wanted to finish well. The second half we played much better and the result was four goals.' China v Netherlands (women) - HC Rotterdam, Rotterdam (NED) The first half of the match between China and Netherlands was all about the Netherlands as they romped to a 3-0 lead. China were far less solid in defence compared to the previous day and they added to the pressure by repeatedly losing possession, often in their own defensive quarter. The opening goal was scored by Maria Verschoor, adding to her goal from the previous day. That was followed just three minutes later when Felice Albers picked up the ball on the Netherlands' defensive 25 and then ran the length of the pitch before firing past Li Xinhuan who was starting in the China goal. Frederique Matla scored the next three goals. The first was a fierce penalty corner in the second half and then the tall striker sent two beautifully taken penalty strokes into the goal at the start of the third quarter. The pressure from the Dutch was unrelenting for the remainder of the third quarter. Only some great running at penalty corners by Li Hong prevented a stream of goals. Just before the final break China's woes were increased when the goalkeeper made the decision to try to challenge Lidewij Welten outside the circle. Welten inevitably nicked the ball, before rounding the stranded 'keeper and scoring an easy goal. Player of the Match Felice Albers (NED) said: 'It was a great performance, we scored some nice goals. We discussed about defending on the right and we did that well today. Eva de Goede is a great player and we are very happy that she is back.' Result: Women’s Match #70 USA 0, India 4 Player of the Match: Tete Salima (IND) Umpires: Liu Xiaoying (CHN), Bruce Bale (ENG) Laurine Delforge (BEL -video) Result: Women’s Match #69 China 0, Netherlands 6 Player of the Match: Felice Albers (NED) Umpires: Laurine Delforge (BEL), Céline Martin-Schmets (BEL), Bruce Bale (ENG-video), Céline Martin-Schmets (BEL)
Dutch men secure Pro League title, Leonas sweeten their title going undefeated
Sports Bulletin Report Lausanne (Switzerland):-Argentina became the first women’s team to go undefeated in Pro League play after their 3-2 win over India today. Meanwhile, the USA showed the result of their constant improvement with a 2-1 win over China, also the Americans’ first win in the season. The Belgian women also dropped England 4-1 to overcome yesterday’s result. The standings are set as a 2-1 win for the Dutch men over India secured them the top of the FIH Pro League, while Belgium sit second and India finish third. Belgium had a convincing 5-0 win over England in today’s match after scoring three goals in the final minutes on an untended English goal. Results (FIH Pro League June 19, 2022)  HC Rotterdam, Rotterdam (NED) Result: Women’s Match #65 China 1, USA 2 Player of the Match: Lauren Moyer (USA) Umpires: Céline Martin-Schmets (BEL), Ivona Makar (CRO), Jakub Mejzlik (CZE-video) Result: Women’s Match #64 India 2, Argentina 3 Player of the Match: Eugenia Trinchinetti (ARG) Umpires: Liu Xiaoying (CHN), Laurine Delforge (BEL), Ivana Makar (CRO-video) Result: Men’s Match #69 Netherlands 2, India 1 Player of the Match: Lars Balk (NED) Umpires: Jakub Mejzlik (CZE), Bruce Bale (ENG), Laurine Delforge (BEL-video) Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London (ENG) Result: Women’s Match #66 England 1, Belgium 4 Player of the Match: Stephanie vanden Borre (BEL) Umpires: Alison Keogh (IRL), Michelle Meister (GER), Coen van Bunge (NED-video) Result: Men’s Match #70 England 0, Belgium 5 Player of the Match: Victor Wegnez (BEL) Umpires: Coen van Bunge (NED), Alison Keogh (IRL), Michelle Meister (GER-video)
Shootout victories favour India women and Netherlands, England men
Sports Bulletin Report Lausanne (Switzerland):-It was a busy day of FIH Pro League action both at HC Rotterdam and the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre in London. In women’s competition, two goals from Hong Li propelled China 3-2 over the USA on neutral soil, while the Indian women charged back to take the Argentina Leonas to a 2-2 tie and ultimately earn a 2-1 shootout victory. The England women rallied back with an exciting second half to beat Belgium 2-1. On the men’s side both games of the day needed a shootout to decide the winner. Netherlands and India went to a 2-2 tie after a last second Harmanpreet drag flick forced the tie. Four-straight shootout goals gave the Dutch the 4-1 shootout win and extra point. In London, England drew 2-2 with Belgium and then the home side put on a classy shootout performance to score three and take the bonus point. FIH Pro League – 18 June 2022 HC Rotterdam, Rotterdam (NED) Result: Women’s Match #62 China 3, USA 2 Player of the Match: Hong Li (CHN) Umpires: Laurine Delforge (BEL), Ivona Makar (CRO), Bruce Bale (ENG-video) Result: Women’s Match #61 India 3, Argentina 3 (2-1 shootout) Player of the Match: Lalremsiani (IND) Umpires: Liu Xiaoying (CHN), Céline Martin-Schmets (BEL), Ivona Makar (CRO-video) Result: Men’s Match #67 Netherlands 2, India 2 (4-1 Shootout) Player of the Match: Thijs van Dam (NED) Umpires: Jakub Mejzlik (CZE), Bruce Bale (ENG), Laurine Delforge (BEL-video) Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, London (ENG) Result: Women’s Match #63 England 2, Belgium 1 Player of the Match: Fiona Crackles (ENG) Umpires: Alison Keogh (IRL), Michelle Meister (GER), Coen van Bunge (NED-video) Result: Men’s Match #68 England 2, Belgium 2 (3-0 shootout) Player of the Match: David Goodfield (ENG) Umpires: Paul Walker (ENG), Coen van Bunge (NED), Michelle Meister (GER-video)
Germany men finish on a high; Belgium men and women do double over India
Sports Bulletin Report Lausanne, Switzerland:-It was a day of drama, late goals, sublime skills, mesmerising teamwork and magnificent individual performances. As the FIH Hockey Pro League nears its final stages, the hockey action on offer has reached extraordinary levels. Whether it is the sheer power of a Stephanie vanden Borre penalty corner, the precision of a Xan de Waard pass or the teamwork that led to the India men's opening goal, the choice of best moments runs long following this weekend of hockey. Spain kicked things off by overcoming a spirited and resolute USA team. Netherlands women looked ominously good as they outplayed Germany, while Germany men turned the tables on the Netherlands when they grabbed the momentum and all three points after a sparkling second half performance. Belgium men and women both found success against India, albeit in very different ways. Belgium Red Panthers seemed to hit a new gear as they strode to a comprehensive 5-0 victory. The men had to battle to the final seconds of a game that was full of everything that is good about hockey – pace, skill, teamwork and the courage to take risks. FIH Pro League (Results): Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp (BEL) Result: Men’s Match 65 Belgium 3, India 2 Player of the Match: Arthur de Sloover (BEL) Umpires: David Tomlinson (NZL), Coen van Bunge (NED) Caroline van de Leur (BEL) Result: Men’s Match 64 Germany 4, Netherlands 1 Player of the Match: Teo Hinrichs (GER) Umpires: Bruce Bale (ENG), Jakob Mejzlik (CZE), Ivona Makar (CRO - Video) Result: Women’s Match 58 Spain 3, USA 2 Player of the Match: Georgina Oliva (ESP) Umpires: Laurine Delforge (BEL), Liu Xiaoying (CHN), David Tomlinson (NZL -video) Result: Women’s Match 59 Germany 1, Netherlands 3 Player of the Match: Laurien Leurink (NED) Umpires: Celine Martin-Schmets (BEL), Ivona Makar (CRO),  Jakub Mejzlik (CZE-video) Result: Women's Match 60 Belgium 5, India 0 Player of the Match: Umpires: Hannah Harrison (ENG) Liu Xiaoying (CHN) Michelle Meister (GER- video)
Boon strikes again as Belgium men continue to climb league table
Sports Bulletin Report Lausanne (Switzerland):-It was another two goals for Tom Boon as Belgium beat South Africa 4-2 and inched ever closer to the top of the FIH Pro League. Their rivals for the second place in the league, India, who play Belgium on Saturday were watching in the stands. Boon's brace means he is four goals behind Harmanpreet Singh at the top of the goalscoring table. In the women's match between Belgium and China, umpire Celine Martin-Schmets won her golden whistle as she took charge of her 100th senior international match. The match itself was a tepid affair with both teams playing cagey hockey. A 1-1 draw was a fair reflection of the match. China's recent experiences and wins in the shoot-out against England and Spain gave the team the edge in this shoot-out, which they won 2-0. . Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp (BEL) Result: Men’s Match 61 Belgium beat South Africa 4-2 Player of the Match: Florent van Aubel (BEL) Umpires: David Tomlinson (NZL), Coen van Bunge (NED) Liu Xiaoying (CHN-video) Result: Women’s Match 54 Belgium 1, China 1 (China won shoot-out 2-0) Player of the Match: Zhang Zindan (CHN) Umpires: Celine Martin-Schmets (BEL), Liu Xiaoying (CHN), David Tomlinson (NZL -video)  
Argentina fall to Netherland's three minute goal-fest
Sports Bulletin Report Lausanne (Switzerland):-A three minute, three goal burst by the Netherlands turned the second match against Argentina on its head after the South American team had taken an early lead. Argentina took the lead after Agustin Mazilli played a lovely ball into the circle and Martin Ferreira was able to send a reverse shot past Pirmin Blaak in the Dutch goal. Going into the half-time break, Argentina looked the more comfortable. Unlike the previous day’s encounter, their defence had looked strong and in control and the goal from Ferreira had given the team a cushion. However, the Dutch team that trooped off the pitch at half-time came back with a renewed vigour and a sense of attacking purpose that swiftly paid dividends. First, Jonas de Geus was able to deflect home a penalty corner. This gave the host nation attacking momentum and 60 seconds later Steijn van Heijningen scored his first international goal. It is one that will be long remembered by both the player and the spectators. Van Heijningen took the ball wide to the left and at the very edge of the Argentina circle, before unleashing a shot that flew past Tomas Santiago’s left shoulder. The third goal was tame in comparison but vital to give the host nation a comfortable lead. Koen Bijen latched onto a ball that was threaded into the circle. He then dinked it over the keeper to give his team a 3-1 lead. That lead deserved to be extended in the final minute of the third quarter as Terrance Pieters and Derck de Vilder wove their way through the Argentina defence with a neat series of passes that showed a level of understanding between the two players that belied their relatively few number of caps. No further goals were scored although Argentina's Nicolas della Torre will rue some missed penalty corner opportunities as Argentina really piled on the pressure in the final quarter. Player of the Match Joep de Mol (NED) said: 'The win was good but the three points were more important. We played well but went 1-0 down. We picked it up in the second half. We attacked the circle far more and with far more aggression in the second half.' Result: Men’s Match 56 Netherlands 3, Argentina 1 Player of the Match: Joep de Mol (NED) Umpires: Dan Barstow (ENG), Christian Blasch (GER) Jonas van t'Hek (NED-video)
Early high tempo from Netherlands shuts door on Argentina
Sports Bulletin Report Lausanne (Switzerland):-The Netherlands returned to FIH Hockey Pro League action with a scintillating first half performance against Argentina. The host nation were unable to sustain the tempo but by the time they ran out of steam, the game was beyond Argentina's reach. It is four months since the Dutch last played FIH Pro League hockey; on that occasion they beat France 5-1, but the men in orange started with an energy and flow that immediately put Argentina on the back foot. For their part, Argentina are on the verge of completing their FIH Pro League matches, with tomorrow’s (2 June) match their final fixture. They currently sit in third place in the league and will now be relying on other team’s to decide their final position. Jair van der Horst and Bram van Battum both scored on debut. Van der Horst’s goal was within three minutes of the start of the game and the newcomer’s first touch on the ball. Van Battum’s goal was a perfect example of how a squaerial (an aerial that goes cross pitch) can change the angle of attack. Van Battum was in the perfect position to receive a pass and shoot home. Jip Janssen completed a trio of goals in the first half with a powerful penalty corner strike that went through Tomas Santiago’s legs in the Argentina goal. Netherlands started the second half in much the same fashion. Two quick goals from Koen Bijen and Tjep Hoedemakers gave the team a seemingly indomitable 5-0 lead. Bijen’s goal was a well struck shot from the edge of the D and then Bijens turned provider as he laid on a perfect pass for Hoedemakers to run onto. A yellow card for Stein van Heijningen was the catalyst for a change in momentum and Argentina took full advantage. First Nicolas della Torre whipped home a penalty corner that left Pirmin Blaak just watching it go past him and then Martin Ferreiro was on hand to send a second goal past Blaak. Argentina piled on the pressure in the final 20 minutes of the match and were unfortunate not to find more reward for their efforts. After such a scintillating start, Jeroen Delmee will be seeking to understand how his team looked to have so rapidly drained of energy and ideas on the pitch. Player of the Match, Derck de Vilder (NED) said:  'The feeling of being voted Player of the Match is great. I am very happy that we won. The first half we played man to man and it went well. In the second half, we switched to zonal marking and we had trouble with that and couldn't find each other.’ Nicolas della Torre (ARG) said:  ‘The first quarter was very uncomfortable for us and we made a lot of mistakes. After that, getting back into the game was difficult. But, we have come a long way and we want to get a good result for our final match, so we will look to improve tomorrow.’ Result: Men’s Match 55 Netherlands 5, Argentina 2 Player of the Match: Derck de Vilder Umpires: Dan Barstow (ENG) Jonas van t'Hek (NED), Christian Blasch (GER-video)