Austria and Netherlands on top of the indoor hockey world

Posted On 12/02/2023

After 80 matches and seven days of rousing action, Austria’s men successfully defended the men’s title while the Netherlands regained the women’s crown as the FIH Indoor Hockey World Cup came to a gripping end in Pretoria, South Africa.
Michael Körper got the defending champions off to a great start in the men’s final, putting his side ahead in the ninth minute.

Less than a minute later the Dutch struck back, Max Sweering slotting one in off a penalty stroke for the equaliser just before the first break. But it didn’t take long for the Austrians to regain their lead, Körper once again adding his name to the scoresheet with a magnificent, lifted effort. The Dutch once again came back at them though, to level matters before halftime.

The Netherlands then led twice in the second half, but the prolific Körper completed his hattrick to once again draw level at 4-4, sending the title decider to a shootout, which the Austrians edged 3-2 for a memorable victory.

“Unbelievable, unbelievable,” said the elated Austrian captain, Leon Thörnblom. “You tend to say a lot but when you do it, it’s just a different feeling. I have no words, I can’t explain it… just unbelievable. I’m so happy.”

Dutch coach Robert Tigges was proud of his team’s performance. “What can I say? Tough luck, it was so super-close… During the game it looked like we were the better team and I think we created more chances, but we know they have a solid squad and it’s hard to score goals against them. But I’m very proud of my team. I think we played a great tournament.”

Austria celebrate their success. Pictures: World Sport Pics/Frank Uijlenbroek

While the Austrian men were crowned world champions for a second time, the women were seeking a first-ever world title when they also took on the Netherlands in their final.

But the Dutch were in rampant mood in what turned into a completely one-sided match.

Mabel Brands scored a hat-trick as the Dutch romped to a third world title with a 7-0 victory. With that, they also climbed to the top spot in the world rankings while Austria moved up from seventh to fourth.

“I’m so proud. We did a really good job, we prepared well and we executed it,” said Brands. As for scoring a hattrick in a World Cup final, she added: “It’s special, really special – I will never forget it.”

In a first for a Hockey World Cup, both the men’s and women’s finals featured one male and one female umpire in each.

Meanwhile, the women’s third-place playoff saw hosts South Africa taking on the Czech Republic.

Adela Lehovcova scored a brace and Anna Kolarova added another before the home side could breach the Austrian defence. Tegan Fourie’s consolation goal in the 26th minute was not enough to prevent the 1-3 loss for the South Africans, who nevertheless achieved their highest-ever World Cup finish with fourth place.

“We’ve done a very good job in this tournament,” said Czech captain Katerina Lacina. “The wins we had during the tournament are a big step forwards. I think we can be proud of what we achieved.”

Individual awards

Best Player: Donja Zwinkels (NED)
Hero Top Scorer: Donja Zwinkels (NED)
Best Goalkeeper: Barbora Cechakova (CZE)
Best Junior Player: Reese D’ariano (USA)

Best Player:
Fabian Unterkircher (AUT)
Hero Top Scorer: Michael Körper (AUT)
Best Goalkeeper: Mateusz Szymczyk (AUT)
Best Junior Player: Mustaphaa Cassiem (RSA)

Final tournament standings

1. Netherlands
2. Austria
3. Czech Republic
4. South Africa
5. Belgium
6. Ukraine
7. Australia
8. Canada
9. USA
10. Kazakhstan
11. New Zealand
12. Namibia
1. Austria
2. Netherlands
3. Iran
4. USA
5. Belgium
6. South Africa
7. Argentina
8. Namibia
9. Czech Republic
10. Kazakhstan
11. Australia
12. New Zealand


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