Following a grueling and explosive 9 days of hockey in Mendoza, it seemed fitting that Argentina were crowned Champions in front of a fantastic home crowd! All 3 European teams ended the Tournament on a high, with each of them winning their respective final games.
Gold – AUS – ARG 1 – 1 (1 – 3 SO)
This Champions Trophy has been billed the Best of the Best and it certainly lived up to the hype. The final between Australia and Argentina got off to a cracking start, with both sides creating opportunities, and the relentless pace of the game didn’t abate for the entire 60 minutes.
Two distinct styles of play were on show: the structure and physicality of the Hockeyroos; and the originality and sheer magic of the Argentine side.
However neither side could be separated in normal time, it took a shoot out to declare the winner. Argentina made sure of the fairy tale ending for Luciana Aymar as she retires from International hockey as a Champion both on and off the pitch.
BRONZE: NZL – NED 1 – 2
The Dutch made sure of the result in normal time as Xan de Waard put the Dutch ahead in the 11th minute, Welton in the 16th and New Zealand came back to 2-1 via Cocks in the 29th minute.
Despite the disappointment of losing out to Argentina in the semi-finals, the Netherlands came out looking for the win. “We are a new squad in the early stages of rebuilding, but we still always want to win,” said goalscorer Lidewij Welton.
5th/6th – ENG v CHN 0-0
Laura Unsworth and Maddie Hinch were the shoot-out heroes in England’s 3-2 win over China in the 5th/6th place play off in Mendoza.Unsworth held her nerve to score the sudden death winner, while Hinch’s athleticism denied three Chinese shoot-out opportunities. England’s hero Laura Unsworth said: “I like facing a ‘keeper head on. I don’t tend to get that nervous. We are all pleased with finishing fifth. We knew once we had lost the quarters that this had to be our target and we achieved it.”
7th/8th JPN v GER 3-5
A lively encounter between Japan and Germany resulted in a 5-2 score line, and both teams will have taken positives from the match after disappointing pool and semi-final matches.
There had been some raised eyebrows at coach Jamilon Mulders’ decision to play Julia Muller on the forward line, but the captain repaid that confidence with a hat-trick scored in the 13th, 20th and 49th minute – the first from a straight shot that nearly knocked the Japanese ‘keeper Sakiyo Asana into the back of the net; the second a well-taken penalty corner and the third a fabulous turn and strike.
4 New Zealand
Source material: FIH.CH
Photograph: Luciana Aymar, Argentina with the Champions Trophy (Frank Uijlenbroek (c))
The final European Hockey Federation Club of the Year awards of this decade are very special ones for the EHF. In 2019...