The Netherlands women will take on India with the first ever FIH Hockey5s World Cup title on the line in Muscat, Oman on Saturday.
Another action-packed day saw the Dutch overcoming Poland to book their place in the final while India got the better of South Africa to progress.
Meanwhile, Namibia will take on the USA in the final of the Challenger Trophy contested by the 8 teams that did not make it to the quarterfinals.
This is how the penultimate day of the women’s tournament unfolded…
The Netherlands came from behind to beat a spirited Poland 3-1 in the first semi-final. Poland were under immense pressure from the start, Marta Kucharska making some excellent saves in goal before Amelia Katerla opened the scoring at the other end against the run of play. The Netherlands found themselves trailing for the first time in the competition but responded well, skipper Noor de Baat bagging two goals for a 2-1 lead at the break. Poland missed a golden opportunity to equalise off a challenge in the 21st minute, and Sosha Benninga rubbed salt in the wound by extending the Dutch lead seconds later. The Netherlands advance to the final in good shape but are uncertain if skipper De Baat will be fit after being helped off with a knee injury early in the second half.
Speaking after the match, Janneke van de Venne admitted: “I’m a bit all over the place, mixed feelings. We don’t know what happened with a teammate, but we’re very glad that we picked it up with the whole team and that we took the game with a win, so glad to go to the finals.”
In the second semi-final, India fell behind twice in the first half of a helter-skelter 6-3 win against South Africa, but they were unstoppable after the break. The South Africans had an excellent start, testing the Indian keeper before Teshawn de la Rey opened the scoring. Akshata Abaso Dhekale hit back for India before Toni Marks and Mariana Kujur traded goals to go to the break level at 2-2. South Africa crumbled in the second half while India clicked up a few gears and slammed home four goals in five minutes. India advance to the final against the Netherlands with some serious momentum behind them, while South Africa will meet Poland in the bronze-medal match.
Speaking afterwards, Ajmina Kujur said: “I’m really happy with the team win. I don’t think I personally played my best game, but that shows how important it is to play as a unit. A big thanks to the crowd that came in to cheer for us, so late in the evening. Hopefully they’ll be back tomorrow, and we’ll give them more to cheer for with a good performance and a win.”
Earlier in the day in the quarter-finals, the Netherlands were tested for the first time in the tournament but still advanced with a 4-2 win over Ukraine.
Poland put in a clinical performance to beat Uruguay 5-3. Amelia Katerla grabbed a hat-trick, her two early goals giving Poland the advantage.
South Africa went into their match against Malaysia as firm favourites but found themselves three goals down and struggling before mounting an impressive fightback to secure a 6-4 win.
India’s class was on full display as they ran rampant in an 11-1 triumph over New Zealand. Dadaso Pisal Rutaja chalked up four goals and Soreng Deepika contributed a hat-trick.
After their quarter-final exit, Uruguay clinched a 5-3 win over Ukraine in the classification match for 5th – 8th place, with Manuela Vilar completing a hat-trick. Uruguay will contest 5th place against Malaysia who beat a luckless New Zealand 5-3.
As an additional “first” for the first ever FIH Hockey5s World Cup, the eight teams who did not make it to the quarter-finals are playing for another trophy: the “Challenger Trophy”. It will be awarded to the champions of the “Challenger” tournament. This initiative was introduced by FIH President Tayyab Ikram, as a sign of encouragement for all teams.
After two playoff matches, Namibia will contest for the Challenger Trophy (9th place) on Saturday after beating Fiji 9-3, with Azaylee Philander contributing four goals and Sunelle Ludwig bagging a hat-trick. They will be up against the USA who beat Australia 8-4 with captain Linnea Gonzales contributing four goals.
Fiji will play off for 11th place against Australia.
Meanwhile, Sudarat Noo-Keaw scored a hat-trick for Thailand as they romped to a 9-3 win over Zambia, and Paraguay beat hosts Oman 6-3. Thailand take on Paraguay for 13th place, while Zambia and Oman will battle it out for 15th spot.
FIH Hockey5s World Cup, Oman – 26 January
Result: Match 29 (W)
Netherlands 4 – 2 Ukraine
Result: Match 30 (W)
Uruguay 3 – 5 Poland
Result: Match 31 (W)
South Africa 6 – 4 Malaysia
Result: Match 32 (W)
India 11 – 1 New Zealand
Result: Match 33 (W)
Zambia 3 – 9 Thailand
Result: Match 34 (W)
Oman 3 – 6 Paraguay
Result: Match 35 (W)
Fiji 3 – 9 Namibia
Result: Match 36 (W)
Australia 4 – 8 USA
Result: Match 37 (W)
Ukraine 3 – 5 Uruguay
Result: Match 38 (W)
Malaysia 5 – 3 New Zealand
Result: Match 39 (W)
Netherlands 3 – 1 Poland
Result: Match 40 (W)
South Africa 3 – 6 India