In the Bronze Medal match between hosts Argentina and England, Maddie Hinch, Goalkeeper of England, pulled out yet another excellent performance to win the match for her side and was also adjudged Goalkeeper of the Tournament i.e. her third in a row. She was also named keeper of the tournament at the Investec World League, TriFinance EuroHockey Championships and now the Argentina World League Final.. After 1-1 draw at full time, Hinch saved two of Argentine shoot-out to clinch the Bronze for her side from hosts Las Leonas in front home crowd. New Zealand pipped China 1-0 to finish fifth and Germany beat Korea 7-4 for 7th place.
Canberra’s Anna Flanagan, the 2012 World Young Player of the Year, had given the Hockeyroos a dream start with a penalty corner goal in the sixth minute and the Aussie women held strong to lead 1-0 at the break.
But a whirlwind spell in the second half saw the Dutch score twice in a minute to turn the game on its head with Kitty van Male making it 3-1 with just under 20 minutes remaining. As the Hockeyroos pushed upfield in search of their own comeback the clinical Dutch forward line added two more goals late on.
Speaking immediately after the final whistle, Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens called it “a disappointing end to the tournament” before saying he was “very pleased with the week. It’s been a fantastic tournament by the girls and it shows how we’ve grown and progressed.”
Commens added, “We’re now among the top teams in the world. Although the score might not have reflected it today, we’re competitive with the best teams in the world and well placed going into the World Cup next year.”
Talking about the game, he explained, “I thought we were solid in the first half, we defended well and broke well on the counter attack. They [the Netherlands] scored a couple of freak goals which put us on the back foot. We were then chasing the game which left gaps at the back which the Netherlands took advantage of.”
Australia were quickly out of the blocks with Flanagan’s deflected penalty corner sparking wild scenes of celebration amongst the Argentinian fans that had adopted the Hockeyroos as their own during the tournament. Following the strike, the Hockeyroos survived several close calls as the ball twice flashed across the face of goal and Madonna Blyth and Eddie Bone each made telling interventions. The Hockeyroos put everything on the line to repel their opponents with Karri McMahon leaving the pitch following a ball to the head, although she returned five minutes later.
Five minutes into the second half Kate Jenner and Kirstin Johnson combined to clear danger from the Hockeyroos’ goal line but it was merely a warning as three minutes later the Dutch struck level. Set-piece expert Paumen flashed a penalty corner into the bottom corner and less than 60 seconds later the Netherlands took the lead through Rosalin Drost.
The turnaround saw the Hockeyroos push upfield in search of an equaliser with Georgie Parker coming close with a first time effort before Kitty van Male made it 3-1 at the other end. Emily Smith and Parker had further half chances before Paumen netted an identical penalty corner with seven minutes remaining to put the result beyond doubt.
Anna Flanagan’s late set-piece flick missed the top corner by mere millimetres but there was still time for livewire Lidewij Welten to fire home a fifth for the Netherlands after displaying exceptional control under pressure from Australian goalkeeper Rachael Lynch.
Despite the result, the silver medal caps an excellent year for the Hockeyroos, who have also won the Oceania Cup and World League Semi-Final Tournament gold medals, the International Super Series title and qualified for the 2014 World Cup in The Hague.