MEDIA RELEASE: World rankings prevail as India, Netherlands and Belgium men enjoy convincing wins, Gorzelany triple lifts Leonas over Red Panthers

13 February 2022

Results sided with World rankings down in Potchestfstroom, South Africa with convincing victories for the Netherlands and India. Harmanpreet Singh buried four goals from specialty plays to lift India 10-2 over the hosts, despite a gutsy opening half where South Africa only trailed 3-1. The Dutch were also kept at bay in their match up against the recently impressive French side and it wasn’t until the third quarter that their scoring cylinders started firing. Captain Thierry Brinkman’s composure in the circle put two goals to his name in the 5-1 victory, while teammates Jorrit Croon and Joep de Mol both celebrated their 100th internationals. To see the current men’s FIH Pro League Standings, click here.

Back at the Cenard in Buenos Aires, the Leonas looked even more potent today as Agustina Gorzelany found her strides at the top of the penalty corner battery with all three Argentina goals for a the 3-1 victory and a weekend sweep of Belgium. To see the current women’s FIH Pro League Standings, click here.

For the men, the weekend was split as Belgium really displayed their craft to earn a 2-0 redemption win over Argentina. Penalty corner aces Alexander Hendrickx and Loïck Luypeart each converted.

South Africa v India (men) – Potchestfstroom, University of North West (RSA)

Four second-half goals from Harmanpreet Singh helped India put away South Africa 10-2, an identical score line to their match up on Feb. 9. Daniel Bell and Connor Beauchamp notched goals for South Africa.

It was a game of two halves in Potchefstroom when South Africa took on India for the second time. For the first 30 minutes, South Africa were hugely competitive, and it was only a less than clinical performance in front of goal – including a saved penalty stroke – that prevented them being on equal terms. South Africa drew first as the Cassiem brothers, Mustapha and Dayaan, combined for a penalty corner that Bell converted home past keeper Bahadur. Before the end of the quarter Surender Kumar tallied while Matt d’Souza was taking a rest with a green card.

A great build up in the second quarter allowed Manpreet Singh to create space for Shilanand Lakra and he scored his first goal for India to give his side a 2-1 advantage. India enjoyed a third goal on a counterattack after a broken-down South African penalty corner. Brilliant work by Dilpreet Singh sets up Mandeep Singh for India’s third. As it was, at half-time it was 3-1 and could have gone either way.

But, ahead of the game, Head Coach Graham Reid had asked for his team to ‘execute’ in front of goal and in the second half his players responded unequivocally. Pick of the crop was four-goal Player of the Match Harmanpreet Singh. His shots rifled in past Gowan Jones in the South Africa goal– it was a masterclass in power and precision.

To start the third quarter South Africa was awarded a penalty stroke as Dayaan Cassiem was pushed on route to goal by Jarmanpreet Singh. Jethro Eustice’s stroke was saved well by Bahadur.  South Africa had more chances as they hit the bar in the 33rd minute and it was after this that India started to turn things on. Harmanpreet buried a penalty corner and Sumit tallied before the end of the third. From there, India continued with goals coming late in each of the third and fourth including three more for Harmanpreet.

Speaking after the game, Harmanpreet said: ‘We are always talking about the team and that was a team effort. We needed to get back after the France game [India lost 5-2] and think what we could learn and improve upon.’

France v Netherlands (men) – Potchestfstroom, University of North West (RSA)

 The Netherlands found their scoring strides in the third quarter to win 5-1 over France. The day was also marked special for both Jorrit Croon and Joep de Mol, both celebrating their 100th international game. Icing on the cake for Croon who also notched a brilliant goal in the fourth quarter. Thierry Brinkman also tallied twice, while the younger Brinkman, Jasper, scored the opener.

While the two teams tied 2-2 just days earlier, there was no question who the better side was today.

After the game, Captain Brinkman was named Player of the Match and said: ‘It was a really good game today. We played good, strong, clean hockey. We were well prepared for today against France. During our time in South Africa we have trained hard and played some great hockey. Now we are looking forward to some Pro League in the Netherlands.’

The Netherlands did as they always do, patiently building and it was in the final minute of the first quarter that the Dutch were able to break the French defence. Jasper Brinkman’s penalty corner flick rocketed into the bottom corner of the French goal, booming past a diving stick of keeper Corentin Saunier.

A sloppy tackle from Timothée Clément in the 21st minute left France short-handed at a critical time. It paid dividends as Thierry Brinkman was there to tap in at the far post to double the Dutch lead. An errant clear by the French defence then gave the Netherlands back-to-back penalty corner opportunities but Saunier’s left glove denied both attempts.

Some clever work from Etienne Tynevez into the Dutch circle gave youngster Antonin Igau a hopping blast at goal but the ball went just wide of the net in the 30th minute. The French pair combined seconds later with a baseline run that gave Igau an open look at goal but he couldn’t finish to leave the French still trailing 2-0 at half time.

The third quarter piled on the goals, starting with the Dutch. Pieters curled and beat two French defenders and then an unmarked Thierry Brinkman calmly tapped in his second of the game. The very same Brinkman bravely saved a rocket of a drag flick off the stick of Victor Charlet in the 33rd minute. The rebound fell for Amaury Bellenger who one-timed the ball high into the net to deny a Dutch shutout.

Another moment of Dutch brilliance came on their fourth marker as Croon brought down a Tjep Hoedemakers aerial with one hand only to then dazzle with a volley on his back hand for the 4-1 Netherlands go-ahead. Another yellow card to France in the 40th minute, this time to Tynevez, lead to a fourth penalty corner for the Dutch and a clinical Jip Janssen finish as the final goal.

 After the game, South African captain Blaise Rogeau said: ‘We always want to win every game but it was tough physically yesterday (against India) and it was hard to keep going at the same intensity and energy.’

Argentina v Belgium (women & men) – Cenard, Buenos Aires (ARG)

At the Cenard a hat-trick from Agustina Gorzelany gave the Leonas a convincing 3-1 victory over Belgium to complete the two-game sweep. On the men’s side, it was a turn of the tides as the Red Lions put on a midfield show only to finish on two penalty corners and take the game 2-0.

 The Argentina women were master class up front today. The speed, skill and sheer unpredictability of the Julieta Jankunas, Maria Jose Granatto and Agustina Albertarrio trio gave the Belgian defence line little time to catch their breath. Despite the magic happening in the Belgian circle it was in fact Belgium who struck first in the game.

 After a long wait for a video referral, the Red Panthers were awarded a penalty corner in the 12th minute and it paid dividends. Lucie Breyne unleashed a low, hard rocket past the diving stick of Argentina keeper Clara Barberi. Just a minute later, Belgium found themselves at the top of the circle again but Breyne couldn’t repeat and the ball flew wide of the left post.

Argentina stormed back as Eugenia Trinchinetti sprung Rocio Sanchez and the back-hand shot forced a diving save from Aisling D’Hooghe. The Leonas were able to work a penalty corner off the rebound but Gorzelany’s flick was bravely run down by Michelle Struijk. Gorzelany had three more penalty corner attempts before half time but they could not bend the Belgian defence line.

Gorzelany finally tallied on a penalty corner but it needed a slight deflection from Belgium’s Louise Versavel at the post to tie the game 1-1. Belgium were not without opportunity as late in the third quarter Breyne had a back-hand shot sail just over the cross bar.

Gorzelany gave Argentina the lead on a second penalty corner ace in the 43rd minute. Her flick went low and hard, this time stick side, to reward the Leonas for their offensive efforts.

Late in the fourth quarter, Gorzelany paced another penalty corner flick stick side and to complete her hat trick and shake any apprehensions she might have had in the opening half.

Speaking after the game, Player of the Match Maria Jose Granatto said: ‘It was a really hard game and we started [down a goal] but we changed the result so we are really happy. We are going to watch this game and prepare for the next matches against [England].”

Following the second-straight loss to Argentina, Belgium’s Michelle Struijk commented: ‘Losing is always disappointing but I’m proud of what we did this weekend. I think we had some nice attacks and we won some [penalty corners]. Of course, we have to score from those [penalty corners]. The negative is that we had a lot of [penalty corners] against but we defended them okay.’

On the men’s side, Belgium was victorious, 2-0, to split the two-game series with Argentina. The Red Lions played a brilliant and flowing game and were able to capitalize on penalty corners, one each from Alexander Hendrickx and Loïck Luypeart.

The teams traded chances in the opening two quarters but neither were able to convert. Loic van Doren denied a Nicolas Keenan shot in the opening minutes, while Player of the Match Victor Wegnez was there to help deny an Argentina penalty corner. Los Leones then weather a storm of four Belgian penalty corners until Hendrickx finally converted for the 1-0 lead after one quarter.

Arthur van Doren’s diving tackle sent the ball off the backline and despite review gave Argentina a timely penalty corner late in the game. The injection was intended for Jose Tolini but the miss trap at the top by Agustin Bugallo triggered a stadium-wide sigh.

 With five minutes to go, Luypaert unleashed a low flick on a penalty corner to double the Belgian lead. The ball went right between the legs of Tomas Santiago. Argentina were unable to mount any form of offensive pressure and were left to settle for a split weekend.

 Victor Wegnez Player of the Match said after the game: ‘I think we showed a good reaction today in comparison of the game yesterday. We knew in Argentina it would be tough. We controlled the game and I think they didn’t create a lot of chances. We scored two penalty corners and defended one really well so that’s good.’

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.

FIH Pro League – 13 February 2021

Potchestfstroom, University of North West (RSA)

Result: Men’s Match 14

South Africa 2, India 10

Player of the Match: Harmanpreet Singh (IND)

Umpires: Annelize Rostron (RSA), Ayden Shrives (RSA), Wanri Venter (RSA-video)


Result: Men’s Match 16

France 1, Netherlands 5

Player of the Match: Thierry Brinkman (NED)

Umpires: Wanri Venter (RSA), Sean Rapaport (RSA), Aneelize Rostron (RSA-video)


Cenard, Buenos Aires (ARG)

Result: Women’s Match 10

Argentina 3, Belgium 1

Player of the Match: Maria Jose Granatto (ARG)

Umpires: Irene Presenqui (ARG), Catalina Montesino (CHI), German Montes de Oca (ARG-video)


Result: Men’s Match 14

Argentina 0, Belgium 2

Player of the Match: Victor Wegnez (BEL)

Umpires: Diego Barbas (ARG), German Montes de Oca (ARG), Catalina Montesino (CHI)

To see the complete FIH Hockey Pro League match schedule, please click here.

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