#FIHProLeague: Preview: Australia and Belgium prepare to battle for men’s FIH Pro League crown

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On Sunday 30 June, the winner of the inaugural men’s FIH Pro League competition will be decided. The two highest ranked men’s teams in world hockey will contest the title match in the inaugural FIH Pro League, with world champions Belgium set to take on in form Australia in the event final following two thrilling semi-final matches at Amsterdam’s Wagener Stadium on Friday (28 June).

In the semi-finals on Friday (29 June), second ranked Australia produced a powerhouse performance to dismantle Great Britain 6-1 with Jacob Anderson scoring a six minute hat-trick as the Kookaburras matched the Hockeyroos as FIH Pro League finalists, while a moment of dazzling brilliance from Tom Boon helped top ranked Belgium overcome lowland rivals and FIH Pro League Grand Final hosts the Netherlands with a 3-1 score-line. The Netherlands and Great Britain will play in Sunday’s 3-4 play-off match at 1430 Central European Summer Time (CEST – UTC/GMT+2), with the title match between Australia and Belgium getting underway at 1700.

Team information and quotes from the teams competing in both matches can be found below, with a complete list of fixtures for the competition available here.

3-4 Play-Off: Great Britain vs Netherlands – 1430 CEST (UTC/GMT+2)

Previous FIH Pro League meetings
2 June 2019: Netherlands 1-3 Great Britain – HC Oranje Rood, Eindhoven (NED)
14 June 2019: Great Britain 2-2 Netherlands (3-4 after shoot-out) – Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre, London (ENG)

Great Britain
FIH World Ranking: 7
Position in regular FIH Pro League season: 4th
FIH Pro League results summary (regular season): Pl:
14 Wins: 6 Draws: 3 SO-Bonus: 1 Losses: 5 GF: 35 GA: 31 GD: 4 Pts: 22

Notable honours: 2x Olympic gold medallists (1920, 1988), Olympic silver medallists (1948), 2x Olympic bronze medallists (1952, 1984), FIH Champions Trophy silver medallists (1985), 2x FIH Champions Trophy bronze medallists (1978, 1984)

Player Perspective – Adam Dixon: “It’s been a long Pro League season, one that we have thoroughly enjoyed, and we want to go out on a high. Hopefully with good weather and a good crowd – this is a great place to come and play hockey – we’ll be looking to put on our best showing on Sunday.”

FIH Pro League Team Page: https://www.fihproleague.com/men/teams/great-britain__4837  Website: http://www.greatbritainhockey.co.uk/ Twitter: @GBHockey  Facebook: @GBHockey Instagram: gbhockey

Netherlands
FIH World Ranking: 3
Position in regular FIH Pro League season: 3rd  
FIH Pro League results summary (regular season): Pl: 14 Wins: 5 Draws: 5 SO-Bonus: 3 Losses: 4 GF: 37 GA: 32 GD: 5 Pts: 23

Notable honours: 2x Olympic gold medallists (1996, 2000), 3x FIH Men’s World Cup winners (1973, 1990, 1998), 8x FIH Champions Trophy winners (1981, 1982, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2006), Hockey World League winners (2012- 14 Edition), 5x European champions (1983, 1987, 2007, 2015, 2017).

Player Perspective – Seve van Ass: “This crowd and this stadium, it’s so wonderful and we really enjoy it here. It will be great to hear everyone cheering for us again once more.”

FIH Pro League Team Page: https://www.fihproleague.com/men/teams/netherlands__4842 Website: www.knhb.nl Twitter: @oranjehockey Facebook: oranjehockey Instagram: oranjehockey

Final: Australia vs Belgium – 1700 CEST (UTC/GMT+2) 

Previous FIH Pro League meetings
3 February 2019: Australia 1-4 Belgium – State Netball & Hockey Centre, Melbourne (AUS)
23 June 2019: Belgium 0-2 Australia – Wilrijkse Plein, Antwerp (BEL)

Australia
FIH World Ranking:
2
Position in regular FIH Pro League season: 1st 
FIH Pro League results summary (regular season): Pl: 14 Wins: 10 Draws: 2  SO-Bonus: 0 Losses: 2 GF: 40 GA: 26 GD: 14 Pts: 32

Notable honours: Olympic gold medallists (2004) 3x Olympic silver medallists (1968, 1976, 1992), 5x Olympic bronze medallists (1964, 1996, 2000, 2008, 2012), 3x FIH Men’s World Cup winners (1986, 2010, 2014), Hockey World League champions (2015, 2017), 15x Champions Trophy winners (1983, 1984, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1993, 1999, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2016, 2018), 6x Commonwealth Games gold medallists (1998, 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014, 2018), 10x Oceania Cup champions (1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2015, 2017).

Player Perspective – Jacob Anderson: “There is no preference [on who we face in the final]. Both teams are really good, being top four in the world, so we will do our homework so we will be ready to face them on Sunday. This is my first major tournament so it would be really good to come away with the win, but you never know what is going to happen.”

FIH Pro League Team Page: https://www.fihproleague.com/men/teams/australia__4840 Hockey Australia website: www.hockey.org.au Twitter – @kookaburras Facebook: @TheKookaburras Instagram: hockeyaustraliaofficial

Belgium
FIH World Ranking: 1
Position in regular FIH Pro League season: 2nd
FIH Pro League results summary (regular season): Pl: 14  Wins: 8 Draws: 3  SO-Bonus: 1 Losses: 3 GF: 52 GA: 29 GD: 23 Pts: 28

Notable honours: World Cup winners – Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, Olympic silver medallists (2016), Olympic bronze medallists (1920), Hockey World League silver medallists (2015), European silver medallists (2013, 2017), European bronze medallists (2007), 5th place – Olympic Games (2012), 5th place – Rabobank Hockey World Cup (2014), 5th place – Hero Hockey Champions Trophy (2014).

Player Perspective – Thomas Briels: “They [Australia] are looking really sharp, in very good form. We played them two weeks ago at home where we lost 2-0. They have come here to Europe to win the tournament, but we are going to do our best to take the first ever FIH Pro League cup and bring it to Belgium.”
FIH Pro League Team Page: https://www.fihproleague.com/women/teams/australia__4869 Website: www.hockey.org.au Twitter: @hockeyroos Facebook: thehockeyroos Instagram: @hockeyaustraliaofficial

Keep up to date with all the latest news on the FIH Pro League via the event website and through FIH social media channels – Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

Saturday 29 June 2019 – women’s competition
1430: 3-4 play-off – Germany vs Argentina
1700: Final – Netherlands vs Australia

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