Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Netherlands finished third and won bronze medal in the FIH Odisha Men's Hockey World Cup 2023 after defeating a formidable Australian side by 3-1 in the play-off match at the Kalinga Stadium on Sunday.

Thierry Brinkman (34th, 39th minute) scored a brace and Jip Janssen (32nd) struck another for the winning team. On the other hand, Jeremy Hayward (12th minute) got one back for Australia.

Australia started proceedings in their usual aggressive fashion. They stamped their authority throughout the first quarter and earned a penalty corner in the process at the 12th minute. In-form Jeremy Hayward duly converted it in the 12th minute to open the account for the Kookaburras. They went on with their attacking instinct and earned another PC in the next minute, but wasted the opportunity. The first quarter ended 1-0 in Australia's favour.

Netherlands tried to claw back into the game in the second quarter and created their first PC chance in the 20th minute, but faltered against the agile Australian defenders. Australians also came closure to score for a couple of times. But defenders of Netherlands stood like a rock to deny them any scoring opportunity. Australia continued with the solitary lead till the end of the first half.

Netherlands came back strongly with an all-out attack against the Australians at the start of the second half. They earned three back to back penalties in the 31st and 32nd minutes respectively. Jip Janssen found the equaliser by converting the last PC. The Oranges continued with their momentum and Thierry Brinkman doubled their lead in the 34th minute with a fierce hit from the left flank. The Dutch team put tremendous pressure on the opposition and Thierry Brinkman sounded the board again in the 39th minute to increase their lead to 3-1 till the end of third quarter.

The fourth and final quarter saw hockey at its attacking best. Netherlands had a close save initially. However, they pressed hard to put the pressure back on the opposition. As a result, they created another PC in the 53rd minute, but failed to convert it. Australia came back strongly and were at their attacking best during the last part of the game. However, they failed to reduce the margin against the alert and agile defenders of the opposition. They also wasted a PC in the 59th minute.