Australia crowned Hero Hockey World League Final 2015 champions
Raipur, 6th Dec 2015: Australia are the Hero Hockey World League 2015 champions thanks to 2-1 win against Belgium in the tournament final in Raipur, India.
Penalty corner efforts from Jeremy Hayward and Matthew Dawson proved to be enough for the Kookaburras to take the title, with Simon Gougnard snatching a late consolation goal for the Red Lions.
The title match brought the curtain down on a high quality week of international hockey that has been enjoyed by big crowds at Raipur’s 3500 capacity Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel International Hockey Stadium.
The top-ranked Australians dominated the early stages of the match and were rewarded when Hero Man of the Match Hayward sent a fierce penalty corner effort into the roof of the Belgian goal in the opening minute of the second quarter. Dawson doubled the advantage soon after half time with another penalty corner, and it would have been 3-0 were it not for a goal-line clearance from Emmanuel Stockbroekx towards the end of the third quarter.
Belgium rallied in the latter stages of the match but were met by stern resistance from the Australian backline. Gougnard forced home a penalty corner in the final minute of the game, although it was not enough to stop the World champions from adding the Hero Hockey World League title to their ever-growing trophy cabinet.
Australia’s Jamie Dwyer was named Hero Best Player of the tournament, with Arthur van Doren of Belgium taking the NMDC Best Junior award. Netherlands shot-stopper Jaap Stockmann was named SECL Best Goalkeeper while Gonzalo Peillat of Argentina finished as Hero Top Scorer with eight goals. The NTPC Fans Choice Award went to Indian goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh.
I am very happy with the teams performance as we showed in the last three games against Germany, Netherlands and Belgium that we can win big matches”, said Australia legend Dwyer after the game. “For me personally, I was quite happy to perform the way I did against the best teams in the world. It gives me believe that even at 36 that I can still play the game well.”
Belgium’s Tom Boon, who made his 200th senior international appearance in the final, said: “The second half was much better for us, but we took too long to get into the game and that was a problem. I think there are a lot of good things that we will learn from this tournament. We have been working with our new coach [Shane MacLeod] for two months now and we have made some nice improvements. Now we have seven months to keep on improving before the Olympics.”
Hero Man of the Match: Jeremy Hayward
6: Great Britain
Hero Best Player: Jamie Dwyer (AUS)
SECL Best Goalkeeper: Jaap Stockmann (NED)
NMDC Best Junior: Arthur van Doren (BEL)
Hero Top Scorer: 8 – Gonzalo Peillat (ARG)
NTPC Fans Choice: P. R. Sreejesh