Final Standings: 1. Netherlands (gold medal); 2. Australia (silver medal); 3. Argentina (bronze medal); 4. USA; 5. New Zealand; 6. China; 7. Korea; 8. Germany; 9. South Africa; 10. Japan; 11. England; 12. Belgium
Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Awards:
Rabobank Best Player: Ellen Hoog, Netherlands
Hero Best Junior Player: Florencia Habif, Argentina
Interpolis Best Goalkeeper: Rachael Lynch, Australia
Hero Top Scorer: Maartje Paumen, Netherlands
Adidas Best Goal: Kim Lammers, Netherlands
With winning the silver medal, the Hockeyroos are expected to rise to second in the world rankings. It is the Australian women’s third World Cup silver medal, adding to those won in 1990 and 2006.
The official world rankings will be released next week by the International Hockey Federation but following England’s 11th place finish, Argentina’s bronze medal and Australia’s runners-up berth they should overtake those two sides in the standings.
First half goals from Maartje Paumen and Kim Lammers proved decisive with Emily Hurtz coming closest for Australia when her early shot was cleared from the Dutch goal line, while Jodie Kenny also saw a penalty corner well saved by Dutch goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek.
Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch, one of the heroines of Thursday’s semi-final shoot-out, pulled off a string of top saves to keep Australia in the contest and was later named Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
Speaking after the match, Hockeyroos Head Coach Adam Commens said, “We’re very proud of our efforts and I think that a silver medal shows how far we have come since the Olympic Games. We came fifth in London and now, since London, we’ve played a number of tournaments – I think five in total – and we’ve made the final of all of them. We won the Champions Challenge, we won the World League 3, we won at the Oceania Cup, a silver medal in the World League 4 and now a silver medal here in the World Cup. So, it’s been a really good 18 months for us.“
We were aiming to make the World Cup final. We knew that the world number one team would be a really difficult one to defeat at that moment and we expected that the Netherlands would be there. They were, they were a great opponent and a really worthy champion.”
Shot stopper Lynch was called upon early, tipping over Ellen Hoog’s reverse stick shot inside two minutes before, almost immediately at the other end, Emily Hurtz’s shot squirmed under the body of Dutch ‘keeper Somebroek only for Jacky Schoenaker to scramble it clear from the goal line.
Dutch captain and tournament top scorer Maartje Paumen opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 12th minute after Roos Drost was adjudged to have been brought down as she ran through on goal.
Australia reacted well, pressing upfield with Kellie White forcing a save from Soembroek, who was also called upon to mop up on several more occasions as the Hockeyroos applied pressure.
Lynch, however, was the busier of the two goalkeepers, keeping out Kelly Jonker’s snap deflection before Kim Lammers made it 2-0 in the 29th minute, netting at the second attempt after Lynch had denied her once.
Penalty corners either side of half time showed the Hockeyroos’ determination to get back in the contest but the first hit the body, rather than stick, of the diving Emily Smith while Jodie Kenny saw her flick tipped wide by Sombroek at full stretch.
Lynch went on to make a series of stops in the second half, notably a good double save at point blank range, while her teammates contested well, winning possession and hitting the Dutch on the counter attack.
A moment of near-controversy occurred when a third goal was initially awarded to the Netherlands with the umpire believing the ball had entered the goal when in fact it had rebounded off the post. Replays showed it hit the post though and the goal was chalked off.
Looking to the future, Commens said he believes the Hockeyroos have what it takes to continue their recent form and subsequent return to the top echelons of the world game.
“I’m really excited about this group,” he said. “It’s a young group. We’ve got girls playing in our defence the majority of the time that have played less than 50 matches, that have come straight from our Australian Hockey League.
“We’ve got a really young forward group and we’ve got a number of quality players that are not here through injury…or some really highly talented young players that are probably not ready at this moment but I think in two years’ time they’ll be pushing our group to increase the competitiveness. When you do that you just see the level of the team play will improve with it and it’s something that I’m really looking forward to.”
The Australian women’s next test comes in just over five weeks when they head to Glasgow to defend the Commonwealth Games title won in Delhi four years ago.
Acknowledging that his side will arrive in Scotland as favourites for the gold medal, Commens added, “The Commonwealth Games is an important tournament for us and we will take a very similar group there. We rightly should be favourites for that tournament but I don’t underestimate our opponents.
“In the women’s side of the Commonwealth Games I think there’s some really high quality teams. New Zealand we’ve seen come fifth here; they’re ranked just below us. England are a side that probably haven’t performed up to their potential at the World Cup and they’ll be determined to turn it around. And South Africa are already a really dangerous side.
“It is different scenario coming into the tournament as favourites. I think the last Commonwealth Games the team really ground out victories. I’d hope to be able to go and be able to play a brand of hockey where we look to dominate our opposition but we’ll certainly need to have taken a step up from what we’ve done here. It’s not a matter of just trying to maintain. It’s a matter of improving and it’s something that our group has been really determined to do over the last two years and they’ll be even more determined to do it at the Commonwealth Games.”
The Hockeyroos’ male counterparts, the Kookaburras, will have their shot at the World Cup gold medal on Sunday as they go head-to-head with the Netherlands in the men’s final. That match takes place at 23:15 AEST and will be shown live across Australia on ABC 2.