The Rabobank Hockey World Cup in the Hague will be a sell-out event, and there is no doubt that the army of orange-clad supporters will be expecting only one result – victory for the home sides.
When it comes to the Hockey World Cup, the Netherlands have a proud history. The men’s team have won the title three times – in 1973, 1990 and 1998 – and been runners-up twice, while the women’s side has taken the gold medal on an impressive six occasions, the last being in 2006.
With one exception – the 1998 Utrecht Women’s World Cup – whenever the Netherlands have hosted a Hockey World Cup they have gone on to win it. In Utrecht, the Netherlands women lost in the final to Argentina. With a large and enthusiastic army of orange supporters cheering them on, every match involving the Oranje promises to be a hockey carnival.
In 2014, both teams will be hopeful of winning a medal. The men are ranked third behind Australia and Germany, while the women are current Olympic champions and sit at the top of the FIH ranking tables. Maartje Pauman is captain of the women’s team, and the twice FIH Player of the Year will be hoping to add a World Cup gold to her two Olympic gold medals.
Photo: EHF/Frank Uijlenbroek