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Australians crowned Hockey World Champions

16 June 2014

HOCKEY: The Australian men's hockey team won the 2014 World Cup in The Hague without dropping a match! See how they progressed through the match reports below, for women's results click here >>

FINAL: Australia def The Netherlands 6-1

Australia’s men’s hockey team, the Kookaburras, has been crowned world champions once again after an emphatic 6-1 win over World Cup hosts and Olympic silver medallists, the Netherlands.

A hat-trick from penalty corner specialist Chris Ciriello helped the Kookaburras to a second consecutive world title as they stunned the hosts to become only the third team to successfully defend a world crown, following in the footsteps of Pakistan and Germany.

For the first time in the tournament Australia had to come from behind to earn the result but Ciriello’s hat-trick and strikes from Kieran Govers, Glenn Turner and Jamie Dwyer demonstrated a devastating response to Jeroen Hertzberger’s 14th minute opener.

Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth, who has now coached four World Cup winning teams, said afterwards, “You dream about winning the final of the World Cup by a big score. I have done that many times and I always thought it was possible but today we gave effect to that so I’m very, very proud of the team.

“Our aim is always to dominate our opponents and to defend better and attack better and to control the ball in the midfield and I think we did all of those things.

“We fell behind but I thought we started ok, we just made one error, they got a corner then we lost a bit of momentum and a very good goal by Jeroen Hertzberger. But maybe what was good about our team is we just kept playing. 70 minutes is a long time and I think that we believed that if we could keep playing with our tempo, our tone, our energy then we could overcome any team. Thankfully, in the end, that’s what happened.”

Kookaburras captain Mark Knowles, playing in his third World Cup final, was named Player of the Tournament while 21 year-old Jeremy Hayward, playing in only his 17th senior international match, was named Young Player of the Tournament.

On the biggest of stages, Simon Orchard made his 150th appearance for the Kookaburras while five times World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer drew level with Jay Stacy as Australia’s most capped player ever with 321 appearances in the green and gold.

The Kookaburras bounced back in style after falling behind for the first time in the tournament to Jeroen Hertzberger’s perfectly placed low backhand shot, which flew into the far corner of the goal. Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter had already pulled off two excellent high saves from the Netherlands’ dangerous penalty corner expert Mink van der Weerden but there was little he could do to prevent the hosts from taking the lead.

Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann’s goal had already been threatened by Matt Gohdes in response to Hertzberger’s strike but it was Ciriello who pulled the Kookaburras level with a trademark penalty corner flick in the 20th minute.

And the Australian men didn’t have to wait long to take the lead. Latching on to a loose ball at the edge of the circle, Kieran Govers’ rasping tomahawk caught Stockmann unaware as it flew into the back of the net, silencing the 15,000 strong partisan home crowd.

Glenn Turner gave the Kookaburras the perfect start after half time as he flicked home at the second attempt after his first was cleared off the goal line. The reflex strike came after Australia were given the umpire’s advantage inside the Dutch circle and Turner was the ultimate recipient making it 3-1.

Ciriello’s second was a carbon copy of his first as he slung a low flick from right to left into the bottom corner beyond Stockmann’s outstretched right foot, and he completed his hat-trick in similar style six minutes later.

With just six minutes remaining, Jamie Dwyer got in on the act, rounding the goalkeeper before shooting Australia to 6-1.

A heart-warming moment late in the game saw Australian goalkeeper Andrew Charter substituted to a rousing ovation from the crowd. Despite the end result being all but confirmed, his replacement Tyler Lovell was still called upon to make a good save to deny the Dutch a late consolation.

Hat-trick hero Chris Ciriello said afterwards, “It hasn’t sunk in yet. The way Ric sort of programs you is play every minute – minute after minute after minute - so it was good to get the first one, then switch off and worry about the next tackle, the next pass. I think it won’t sink in ‘til a bit later when I don’t have to buy any drinks."

Acknowledging the work of his teammates, he added, “It’s not just me that gets to flick the corners. It’s all the strikers, the pressure and hard work that they’ve done to be able to get the corner. And it’s just about being lucky enough to be in the right position in the right place if you’re on the field. And you never know what Ric’s going to call. There’s a hundred variations and three other world class flickers; you’re just sort of praying you get the chance.”

Kookaburras captain Mark Knowles said, “I’m very honoured to win the title again. What we play hockey for is to play in big matches. We were very disappointed after London 2012 [where the Kookaburras won a bronze medal] and we made some changes. We wanted to be better.

“That’s the big thing within this group – it’s about improving. Certainly it’s a team that’s growing and you want to keep moving. I think that’s the greatest thing of this tournament for us; we moved forward.

“Very rarely do you play top quality matches, top, top performances in big games and I’m just so honoured and so proud of the guys from today… that’s a performance that we can all be proud of. It’s what you hope will happen in big matches but you don’t always expect it.

“It’s pretty amazing for our sport in the country and I feel really, really proud of the guys and the coaching staff and what we’ve been able to achieve tonight. That’s just the fairy-tale end to a World Cup that’s been very, very good.”

After the team returns to Australia on Tuesday the focus shifts to next month's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where the Australian men will be looking to win a fifth consecutive Commonwealth gold medal.

Bronze medal match result
Argentina 2-0 England


SEMI FINAL: Australia def Argentina 5-1

The Kookaburras will have the chance to defend their 2010 title after reaching Sunday’s men’s hockey World Cup final in The Hague with a 5-1 semi-final victory over Argentina. The result means there will be two Aussie-Dutch finals this weekend with the Kookaburras following their female counterparts, the Hockeyroos, into a final against the hosts.

Penalty corner prowess proved decisive with 21 year-old Northern Territorian Jeremy Hayward bagging a double with goals either side of half time. Set piece flicks from Kieran Govers and Chris Ciriello, and Jake Whetton’s inch perfect tomahawk just before the break sealed the Australian men’s fifth World Cup final and a shot at a third gold medal.

Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth, who won the tournament as a player in 1986, said afterwards, “I think we played a really, really solid first half and we scored a couple of corners, which gives you a boost, always. We made chances, we got penetration, we controlled the ball…I was pleased with that.

“We continued in the second half, we lost focus near the end – that’s always a worry – but it was a pretty solid performance. I’m delighted with that. We knew that Argentina had some very dangerous players in their team we had to nullify them and then do our thing and I was pleased with that.”

For the fifth consecutive game the Kookaburras opened the scoring inside seven minutes. Kieran Govers’ fourth minute penalty corner broke the deadlock and the advantage was doubled by Jeremy Hayward in the 22nd minute. Having comfortably seen off two Argentine set pieces, Jake Whetton made it 3-0 to Australia shortly before the break with a superb tomahawk goal that left him celebrating on the floor inside the circle.

Chris Ciriello’s flick into the bottom left corner for 4-0 continued the Kookaburras’ 100% corner conversion rate before Hayward netted his second and Australia’s fifth.

At the other end, youngster Gonzalo Peillat showed why he has been the talk of the tournament with a well taken powerful penalty corner goal of his own, penetrating a solid Australian defence for only the second time in the tournament.

Matthew Swann cleared off the line late on as Argentina broke clear five minutes from time but by then the Kookaburras’ progress was already all but confirmed.

Australia will line up against the Netherlands in Sunday’s final (23:15 AEST) with the match shown live on ABC 2. The hosts won their place in the final as they overcame England 1-0 in a tight contest and will now be looking to equal Pakistan’s record of four World Cup titles.

Speaking about the prospect of playing the Dutch, Kookaburras captain Mark Knowles said, "They’re in the World Cup final so they’re obviously in good form.

“Both teams are the form teams in the competition and what you want is for the best two teams to be playing in the final. The great thing we have here is we have that in the men’s and the women’s.

“It’s been a huge goal of our group since London. We were very disappointed with how things finished [at the London Olympics], how things went. Certainly it’s been rolling along, there’s been some ups and downs but the confidence that the coaching staff put in us as players and the hard work that we see day in, day out back in our training environment is what makes it easier to play in these matches.

“I’m very confident with our group and what we have here and I think our players are slowly starting to believe more and more that they’re right in this tournament. Playing well in big games is what it’s all about. We get another chance Sunday to do that.”

Acknowledging the specialness of both Australian teams reaching their respective World Cup finals, Knowles added, “That’s very rare in sport and we’re very, very thankful and happy as hockey players in Australia to have the men and the ladies in the final. It’s going to be a very nice weekend for everyone in Australia.”

Prior to the Kookaburras’ final on Sunday, the Hockeyroos will take on the Dutch women at 23:15 AEST on Saturday in the women’s final, a match that can be seen live on ABC 2.

SEMI FINAL: Argentina awaits

The Kookaburras, who topped men’s Pool A with five wins from five matches, will face Argentina, who finished second in Pool B, just one point behind the Netherlands. Argentina’s men also entered the competition as the third lowest ranked team in the men’s draw (11th) but their four wins and one defeat was enough to finish ahead of Olympic and European champions Germany, who ended up third. Remarkably, Argentina’s men share their head coach, Carlos Retegui, with their women’s team. 

In the other men’s semi-final, England will face the Netherlands after beating Belgium in their final game on Monday to finish as runners-up to Australia.

GAME 5: Australia def India 4-0

A ferocious opening 25 minutes in which they scored four unanswered goals saw the Kookaburras progress to the semi-finals of the Hockey World Cup with a 100% record after beating India 4-0 to top Pool A with a maximum 15 points.

Kieran Govers’ third minute opener gave the Australian men the perfect start with Chris Ciriello doubling the advantage from a penalty corner in the 16th minute, firing his 80th goal for his country.

21 year old Jeremy Hayward made it 3-0 when he flicked home a rebound at a penalty corner, coolly slotting the ball over the shoulder of goalkeeper Sreejesh, who would go on to make a string of outstanding saves in the second half. Ciriello bagged his second and Australia’s fourth with a low penalty corner two minutes later.

The match was overshadowed by an injury to captain Mark Knowles who left the pitch on a stretcher after his head collided with the hip of S.V. Sunil with seven minutes of the first half remaining. After being taken to hospital for assessment, Knowles was discharged approximately an hour after the conclusion of the match and returned to the team hotel for rest. He is suffering from muscular pain and a headache and will be under the supervision of the team's medical staff over the coming days.

Early second half chances for Jake Whetton and Eddie Ockenden were thwarted by Indian ‘keeper Sreejesh who was well positioned to prevent Australia extending their advantage. And Sreejesh continued his inspired form with a string of saves as the half continued, including from Jake Whetton and Chris Ciriello.

Afterwards, Ric Charlesworth said that his side had achieved their first goal for the tournament, securing qualification to the medal matches.

He said, “We came here to get to the semi-final. We’re there. We were there the other day [after beating England].

“You get to this stage in the tournament and you just have to let the players play. They have a rhythm, they know what is required and it’s the execution on the field that is the critical bit.”

The Kookaburras also saw Jamie Dwyer sit out the latter part of the match and Matthew Swann come off after going over on his ankle.

Charlesworth admitted afterwards that the injuries to Knowles, Dwyer and Swann had an impact on his side but said they are well conditioned for such scenarios.

“It affects your rotations,” he admitted. “In the end we had three on the bench that weren’t playing. That makes everybody else work harder. We can do that. We train that way. We know that the training games we’ve been playing in Perth are at a higher tempo than the games we’re playing here. The players are able to handle that. That’s not a problem but when you have to play with two or three who are not able to pull their weight then everybody else has to work harder.”

The Kookaburras now have a break until Friday’s semi-final where they will play one of the Netherlands, Argentina, Germany or New Zealand. The final order in Pool B will be determined on Tuesday.

GAME 4: Australia def England 5-0

The Kookaburras swept into the semi finals of the Rabobank Hockey World Cup with a stunning 5-0 victory over England in The Hague on Saturday afternoon.

Matt Gohdes’ early strike inside the opening 30 seconds set the tone for a feast of goals in a first half that finished with Kieran Govers scoring one of the goals of the tournament, knocking a Mark Knowles aerial pass into the goal with just one second of the half remaining.

In between, two of Australia’s most decorated players – Athens Olympic gold medallists Liam De Young and Jamie Dwyer – showed they still know where the goal is with De Young knocking home a penalty corner rebound and Dwyer finishing from close range after Jake Whetton’s unselfish pass across goal.

Aran Zalewski’s surging run through the heart of the English defence just three minutes after the re-start made it 5-0 to the men in green and gold, who had further chances to extend their lead but were ultimately denied by several late blocks.

The result takes the Kookaburras on to 12 points with one pool match remaining. Their nearest challengers Belgium are three points behind with England a further two back on seven. England and Belgium meet on Monday to decide the other semi finalist from Pool A while the Kookaburras play India the same day.

After the match, Ric Charlesworth admitted he would have settled for a draw.

He said, “When I came to the ground I would have been happy with a draw because that was enough for us to qualify for the main games.

“We got a good start. In fact, the first quarter of the game was a bit of an arm wrestle, a bit of a struggle. We gave away a corner but I think that progressively we played better. I would have liked to finish more chances in the second half. We had many more chances in the second half than the first half but one goal, it’s crazy.

“I’m happy with the way the team played. I’m happy that our players are fit. We now have the opportunity of a long break before the semi final but the next game [against India on Monday] is important for us to play well again and start preparing for what will be a semi final next Friday.”

When asked about Govers’ goal on the stroke of half time, Charlesworth labelled it, “terrific, brilliant, great, [a] great spectacle, brilliant skill.”

He added, “Fergus [Kavanagh], who is in fact a defender, scored a similar goal in the final of the Champions Trophy in 2009 and it was front page of the newspapers in Melbourne where they’re mad about football so that was a stunning goal, too. This was a very good one.

“I was angry with our players in one of our games earlier [in the tournament] because with 15 seconds to go they stopped trying to score. When you have the ball with 15 seconds to go you’ve got to try and get in the circle and I was glad that Mark [Knowles] threw the pass and that the finish was, of course, terrific, brilliant, great, [a] great spectacle, brilliant skill.”

The Kookaburras had chances to extend the margin of victory but Glenn Turner, Govers, Chris Ciriello and Jamie Dwyer all saw efforts blocked by the English defence.

Speaking about his goal, Kieran Govers said, “We got a bit of a rocket from Ric [Charlesworth] the other day for not staying switched on until the half time whistle and we know with Knowlesy [Mark Knowles] on the ball you’ve got to look out. Really, GT [Glenn Turner] was having words with one of the full backs so I went over to see what he was saying and the ball just popped over so I just whacked it in the goal. It was pretty good!”

Australia’s final pool match is against India on Monday (1:00pm local time / 9:00pm AEST). A draw or victory will guarantee their progress as the Pool A winner. Only a Belgian victory over England and a defeat to India, with a substantial goal swing, would see them go through as Pool A runner-up.

With Pool B a day behind, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Argentina and Germany are all still in the running to progress to the final four from the other half of the draw.

The men’s World Cup semi finals take place on Friday 13 June at 3:15pm local time (11:15pm AEST) and 6:00pm local time (2:00am AEST on 14 June).

GAME 3: Australia def Belgium 3-1

Two goals in a storming opening ten minute spell helped the Kookaburras to a 3-1 victory over Belgium in their World Cup title defence in The Hague on Thursday.

Chris Ciriello’s lightning quick penalty corner drag flick seven minutes in and Jake Whetton’s close range finish two minutes later put the Australian men in the driving seat against a Belgium side backed by a sizeable support just 90km from home.

Goalkeeper Andrew Charter held Belgium’s Red Lions at bay on numerous occasions in the first half before, a minute into the second period, Eddie Ockenden finished a tremendous solo effort with a tomahawk strike through the legs of goalkeeper Vincent Vanash for 3-0.

Sebastien Dockier struck back for Belgium ten minutes later to make it 3-1 and despite a series of penalty corners and chances at both ends that was how it stayed.

Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth declared himself pleased with the result and his side’s trajectory in the competition while admitting he still expects more from his team.

“It was a tough match,” he said. “I think there was some good hockey played but both teams would be a bit unhappy with some of the mistakes they made. I think we had too many lapses, I’m not happy with that. We played maybe two good quarters and two average quarters in the game and I expect more than that. I’m very happy with the result because Belgium is a team of high quality and I expected the sort of game that we got.

“The goal that they scored, again we fell asleep. We thought the danger had gone and it’s ever present in hockey. So, yeah, I’m not happy with that and it needs to be addressed.

“We haven’t had, coming into this tournament, the number of matches some other teams have had so we’re perhaps a little bit rusty still but I don’t mind our trajectory. I think it’s ok. But we expect to play better than this, yes.

“The group matches in these tournaments are about fighting for a place in the classification part of the tournament and that’s what our aim is. We still have to do more.”

Kieran Govers had already signalled Australia’s intent, forcing Vanash into an early save before Ciriello beat the goalkeeper with the pace of his penalty corner in the seventh minute. Jake Whetton was in the right place at the right time to capitalise and make it 2-0 soon after following good work by Glenn Turner, who found his fellow forward at the back post after seeing his initial shot blocked.

Canberra-born goalkeeper Andrew Charter pulled off several good blocks from open play and Belgian set pieces to keep the Kookaburras goal intact heading into half time.

Tasmanian Eddie Ockenden gave Australia the best possible start to the second half when he waltzed past two defenders, cutting in from the right before unleashing a powerful tomahawk that flew into the goal for 3-0.

Sebastien Dockier, in space at the back post, hauled a goal back for Belgium in the 46th minute, but despite penalty corners and chances in front of goal at both ends that was how it stayed.

Goal scorer Jake Whetton, who netted his first World Cup goal, said afterwards, “I think we have started slow in the past against Belgium. World League [round] three was a classic example; they got a goal in the first 30 seconds, so we knew they were going to come out pretty strong against us, so we wanted to start well and, yeah, we did it.”

Paying tribute to teammate Glenn Turner for setting up the goal, he added, “I’ll leave the bargy stuff to G (Glenn Turner) - he’s pretty good at it - and I just get to those spots where I know I’m going to be dangerous, and fortunately G was skilful enough to find me on the back post. Nice to get one in a big tournament but plenty to go from here.”

The Kookaburras now have a maximum nine points from a possible nine and sit top of Pool A, two points ahead of England, who they meet on Saturday (4pm local time / midnight AEST Saturday into Sunday). Belgium are third in the pool with six points. The top two in each pool after five matches progress to the semi finals. The Kookaburras meet India on Monday in their final pool fixture. 

GAME 2: Australia def Spain 3-0

A commanding performance from start to finish helped the Kookaburras to a second consecutive win, 3-0 over Spain, at the Hockey World Cup in The Hague on Monday.

Coming out of the blocks like a steam train the Kookaburras stormed into the lead as Tim Deavin, who replaced the injured Glenn Simpson in Australia's World Cup squad, casually placed a low tomahawk strike into the bottom corner two minutes in.

Captain Mark Knowles doubled the advantage from the penalty spot after just ten minutes but could only watch as a second penalty stroke rebounded back off the crossbar and out in the 21st minute.

Shortly before half time, Kieran Govers made it 3-0 with a powerful low drag flick from a penalty corner.

Despite the lack of goals in the second period and an improvement from Spain, the Kookaburras always looked in total control as they moved on to six points at the top of Pool A. Their next match comes against European silver medallists Belgium on Thursday.

National Coach Ric Charlesworth said after the match, “I think we played as well as well as we’ve played this year in the first half. I want us to play that way all the time. The second half was pretty disappointing. We took our foot off the pedal. I don’t ever want to do that, so that was disappointing.”

Referring to upcoming opponents Belgium, Charlesworth added, “They’re a very good team. It’ll be a very tough game. And a very important one for us.”

In the post-match press conference, acknowledging Charlesworth’s intention to step down as Head Coach after the Commonwealth Games in August, Spanish coach Salvador Indurain thanked the Australian for his contribution to hockey.

GAME 1: Australia def Malaysia 4-0

The Kookaburras’ defence of their 2010 World Cup title began with a 4-0 victory over Malaysia in the tournament’s opening game in The Hague on Saturday.

Prolific forward Glenn Turner’s raceaway goal in the 25th minute set the Kookaburras on their way ahead of a commanding second half performance where goals in quick succession from Eddie Ockenden, Jamie Dwyer and Turner again put them in the driving seat.

Four-time World Cup winning coach Ric Charlesworth declared he was happy with his side’s opening performance. He said, “The first game is always difficult. I think [in] the first game of the tournament everyone is a bit anxious and things are just being sorted out but I’m pleased with the result. I think the quality of our field play was pretty good. I was happy with the speed of the ball and the movements of the players. We didn’t finish well enough and I think that’s obvious, we can improve on that. And the aim, of course, is to play better as the tournament goes on.

“In the first or second minute one of our players saved a goal from one of our players on the goal line and if that had gone in it may have been different. The game may have opened up earlier. But as it was we had to fight very hard for the second goal, and then the third and fourth.

“We took a long time to score. We were our own worst enemy. We made a bunch of chances in the first half and didn’t finish. It was attritional for a long time but in the end I’m happy with the win. We get the game out of the way, we are into the tournament. Malaysia can be a difficult team, they can break on the counter and you have to be vigilant."

The Kookaburras were awarded six penalty corners but unusually failed to capitalise from any of them. Charlesworth added, “We were weren’t so good [at penalty corners] today. The goalkeeper made some good saves and the other ones we didn’t finish. So that’s always a worry but they’ve been good until now so I’m happy with where we’re at.”

Turner’s opening goal, a cool flick on the breakaway after Fergus Kavanagh’s pinpoint pass, was no less than the Kookaburras deserved. Simon Orchard had already blocked teammate Aran Zalewski’s goal-bound shot in the second minute, Jake Whetton had narrowly failed to divert Jamie Dwyer’s deflection on target and Kieran Govers’ foot connected before his stick while through behind the goalkeeper.

Tasmanian Ockenden doubled he Kookaburras’ advantage with a low tomahawk strike into the bottom corner after cutting into the circle from the right hand side. Two minutes later Jamie Dwyer put the result beyond doubt and Turner promptly made it 4-0 with a back post diversion of Chris Ciriello’s ball into the circle.

Late on, goalkeeper Andrew Charter was called upon to save smartly from Firham Ashari.

Playing his third World Cup, the match marked a milestone for two time Olympian Rob Hammond who made his 250th appearance in the match.

Hockey Australia

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