Netherlands are inaugural FIH Hockey5s men's world champions

Sports Wednesday 31/January/2024 21:12 PM
By: Times News Service
Netherlands are inaugural FIH Hockey5s men's world champions

Muscat: The Netherlands were crowned as the men’s champions in the inaugural FIH Hockey5s World Cup at the Hockey Oman Stadium on Wednesday.

A dazzling show saw the Dutch defeat a fighting Malaysia 5-2 in the summit clash to emulate their women's team, which had earlier won the women’s title at the same venue on January 28.

The final got off to an explosive start as the Dutch took the lead in the opening minute when Yannick van der Drift converted a challenge goal. However, the joy was short-lived as Malaysia were on equal terms in the next minute with their star player Akhimullah Anuar finding the back of the net.

The fast-paced finale was well-contested but the Dutch surged ahead in the sixth minute when Pepijn Reyenga scored and the fancied European side consolidated their grip on the match when Drift found the third goal before the interval to give them a 3-1 lead at the break.

However, Malaysia regrouped and scored immediately after the restart as Muhammed Omar scored to set the stage for a thrilling finish.

The Dutch defence stood firm and when Sander de Wijn converted a challenge goal with four minutes left, it was a big task for their opponents to come back with seconds ticking. Jamie van Aart then took the game beyond the Malaysians with a clean strike near the hooter as the Dutch celebrated a grand double title win in the first ever Hockey5s World Cup.

His Highness Sayyid Melek bin Shihab Al Said, the chief guest, gave away the trophy in the presence of FIH President Tayyab Ikram and Oman Hockey Association Chairman Dr Marwan bin Juma Al Juma.

It was double delight for the Dutch as the Netherlands women had earlier claimed the top honours in the women’s event on January 28. The Dutch women had defeated India in the final.

On the final day of the inaugural edition of the event, classification matches preceded the medal rounds.

India finished fifth with a 6-4 win over Egypt, thus also avenging their defeat in the league stage.

African nation Kenya overpowered a gritty Trinidad & Tobago 7-5 to claim the seventh spot.

Pakistan claimed the Challenger Trophy, contested by the teams that didn’t make it through to the quarter-finals.

The Greens were too good for Switzerland as they signed off in style with a 10-1 win.

The match for the 11-12th place was between Australia and New Zealand with the former emerging 6-4 winner.

USA finished 13th after a thrilling game against Nigeria that witnessed a total of 19 goals with the Americans winning 10-9.

Jamaica ended with a wooden spoon as they lost to Fiji 4-2 in the 16-team competition.

Earlier, on Tuesday night, Malaysia got the better of a spirited Poland with a 4-3 win in the semi-finals.

Both teams played a tight, disciplined first half and the scores were locked at 1-1 at half-time. Malaysia went ahead just after half-time with a long range shot, and then added two more to lead 4-1 with six minutes to play. Poland staged a comeback, scoring twice in the late stages before missing a challenge opportunity as the clock ran down.

Final placings: 1 The Netherlands, 2 Malaysia, 3 Oman, 4 Poland, 5 India, 6 Egypt, 7 Kenya, 8 Trinidad & Tobago, 9 Pakistan, 10 Switzerland, 11 Australia, 12 New Zealand, 13 USA, 14 Nigeria, 15 Fiji, 16 Jamaica.