Bhubaneswar — Three goals in seven minutes ensured the Netherlands of bronze at the men’s World Cup after a clinical defensive display, coupled with a ruthless cirle offensive against a below-par Australia, who finished out of the medals for the first time in 25 years.
Since winning the World Cup in 1998, the Dutch have won five medals in the last six editions. That in part was down to a captain’s salvo from Thierry Brinkman in the third quarter after Jip Janssen had restored parity following Jeremy Hayward’s sharp opener, his 1ooth goal in his 200th appearance.
“We really deserved this,” said Brinkman, with his mum and dad watching on in the stands. “We played good in the first half and we had to finish the opportunities. We had a great second half and even down when we were down to 10 men. We are ready for the next few years and we look forward to the future with this group.”
After Australia’s late show defeat in the final six seconds, the Dutch attempted to start at pace against Colin Batch’s side, Steijn van Heijningen nearly tipping in a fine goal with his angled stick which narrowly missed Andrew Charter’s far post. The excellent Thijs van Dam then saw a forehand go wide.
Australia were, though, hardly tardy as Arun Zalewsky, with trademark headband, created space in a tight pocket, his baseline pass failing to find a touch. They hit their straps in the 13th minute when Hayward hit the backboard. A variation to Govers at top for the second PC didn’t have the usual Kookaburra penetration.
While the first-half in the semi-final against Belgium was all Oranje, the third quarter changed the perplexion. A third successive PC by Janssen found a rush deflection off the Dutchman’s first-time hit, his eighth of the World Cup.
Two minutes later, the Oranje pounced as a Tim Howard attempted pass out of the circle was blocked by Jorrit Croon. It fell to Brinkmann who rifled home.
Van Dam was enjoying left on the left flanks and was becoming a danger in their penetration. Collecting an aerial, the ball was fed to Brinkman who switched to the reverse. A five-minute brace which sapped the energy out of Australia.
Van Dam was given yellow midway through the final quarter, while the Dutch were denied a fourth through an infringement on Charter, who was pulled with six minutes left. Australia’s last phase at this World Cup failed to deliver as Balk roared four time, twice from his rush blocking, and then clearing circle danger. It was his second medal after 2018 silver.