The first ever men’s FIH Hockey5s World Cup came to a thrilling conclusion with the Netherlands overcoming Malaysia to lift the trophy and match what their women’s team achieved just four days ago.
Malaysia can be justifiably proud of their silver medal, having successfully built their senior side up from junior level over the past few years. Six of their players were part of the squad that clinched the gold medal at the 2018 Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, which was played in the Hockey5s format.
Meanwhile, there was home joy for hosts Oman who overcame Poland in an exhilarating encounter to secure the bronze medal at their first ever FIH World Cup in any format. And Pakistan clinched the Challenger Trophy, for those teams that didn’t make it through to the quarter-finals, after a convincing victory over Switzerland.
The action-packed tournament saw a total of 507 goals being scored in total over the four days of matches in Muscat, Oman.
The Netherlands dominated the final with a 5-2 victory over Malaysia, but they didn’t have things all their own way. The Dutch went ahead from a challenge in the first minute, only for Malaysia to equalise from a rebound off the baseline a minute later. The Dutch then built a 3-1 lead before half-time and looked comfortable. Malaysia hammered one in from long range in the opening minute of the second half, but failed to convert some very good opportunities in the riveting 10 minutes that followed, allowing the Dutch to reassert control and then fire in two late goals to secure the title.
Speaking after the match, Joey van Walstijn, who was later named the best goalkeeper of the tournament, said: “I think the strength of our team was that there was no star in the team itself. This prize is also for Koene Schaper, we did it together, we both played a good tournament. He did very well, I did very well, and the whole team performed and that’s what it’s all about.”
Hosts Oman rounded off their tournament with an enthralling 3-2 win over Poland in the bronze medal match. It was always going to be a tight encounter with neither team ranking among the top goal scorers at the tournament. Oman attacked more in the early stages to go 1-0 up after seven minutes before conceding a goal just before the break. They regained the lead early in the second half and were effective at restricting Polish opportunities until an equaliser in the 25th minute. However, the home side scored the winning goal a minute later, the ball deflecting in off the keeper’s back foot and barely crossing the line. It was enough, though, for a historic bronze medal.
An elated Sami Al Laun said afterwards: “I will just say thank you to my team. We are the third place in the world. This means a lot for us as players. For me it’s a great moment to be there… This means a lot for our country.”
Earlier, India had a point to prove against Egypt, having lost to them in the pool stage, and they came out firing in a 6-4 win for 5th place. They took early control of the game and raced to a five-goal lead before the Egyptians pulled one back just before the break. Egypt looked a completely different team in the second half but it was a case of too little too late.
Kenya also reversed their pool-stage loss to Trinidad and Tobago, beating them 7-5 to claim seventh spot. The game was free-flowing and always in the balance, Kenya’s Bethuel Masambu completing his hat-trick at the death to close out the match, while Trinidad and Tobago’s Akim Toussaint contributed a hat-trick in the losing cause.
Pakistan were genuine top-eight contenders at this tournament but found themselves in the Challenger Trophy – the newly introduced trophy for those not making it through to the quarter-finals – after losing out in a very tough pool.
They showed their ability by cruising to a 10-1 win against Switzerland in the Challenger Trophy final, dominating every facet of play and denying the Swiss any opportunity to gain a foothold in the match. Zikriya Hayat completed a hat-trick, taking Pakistan well clear of the pack with 57 team goals in the tournament, while Rana Waheed finished as top individual scorer with 23 goals.
In the 11th-place playoff Australia’s Liam Kerr-Nelson scored a hat-trick to help his team to a 6-4 win over New Zealand.
The USA triumphed in a 10-9 thriller against Nigeria for 13th place, Pat Harris and Alberto Montilla scoring hat-tricks for the American side while Nigeria’s Peter John and Sunday Godwin grabbed four and three goals each in a losing cause.
Fiji scored three goals in the 26th minute to steal a 4-2 win over Jamaica for 15th place.
Gold medallists: NETHERLANDS
Silver medallists: MALAYSIA
Bronze medallists: OMAN
Winners of the Men’s Challenger Trophy: PAKISTAN
Runners-up of the Men’s Challenger Trophy: SWITZERLAND
Best Goalkeeper: Joey van Walstijn (NED)
Best Junior Player: Hannan Shahid (PAK)
Top Scorer (23): Waheed Ashraf Rana (PAK)
Best Player: Akhimullah Anuar (MAS)
FIH Hockey5s World Cup, Oman – 31 January
Result: Match 41 (M)
Jamaica 2 – 4 Fiji
Result: Match 42 (M)
USA 10 – 9 Nigeria
Result: Match 43 (M)
Australia 6 – 4 New Zealand
Result: Match 44 (M)
Pakistan 10 – 1 Switzerland
Result: Match 45 (M)
Kenya 7 – 5 Trinidad and Tobago
Result: Match 46 (M)
India 6 – 4 Egypt
Result: Match 47 (M)
Oman 3 – 2 Poland
Result: Match 48 (M)
Netherlands 5 – 2 Malaysia
Final positions: 1. Netherlands, 2. Malaysia, 3. Oman, 4. Poland, 5. India, 6. Egypt, 7. Kenya, 8. Trinidad and Tobago, 9. Pakistan, 10. Switzerland, 11. Australia, 12. New Zealand, 13. USA, 14. Nigeria, 15. Fiji, 16. Jamaica