The New Zealand Black Sticks' fairytale run at the Hockey World Leauge ran into a Netherlands machine in India overnight.
The New Zealand men, playing in their first FIH tier one tournament final since the 1976 Montreal Olympics, were overmatched against the speedy and skilful Dutch, falling 7-2.
If there was any doubt the match was over at 3-0 at halftime, it was extinguished when Bob de Voord scored the Netherlands' fourth 16 seconds after the resumption. Steve Edwards did answer a minute later to get the Kiwis on the board, but a comeback was never a chance.
Man-of-the-match Constantijn Jonker scored a hat-trick, while Billy Bakker netted twice as the Netherlands captured the first World League title.
After missed chances and some fine saves from New Zealand keeper Devon Manchester, the Dutch opened the scoring in the 17th minute through Jonker, who was left alone at the far post after the Black Sticks failed to clear the ball away. It was the same story seven minutes later as a failed clearance led to Bakker's first.
With Steve Edwards in the sin-bin and just seconds before halftime, New Zealand captain Dean Couzins misplayed a hit from outside the circle, with Jonker redirecting for a 3-0 lead.
After the two quick goals to start the second half, the Dutch added further goals in the 45th minute through Roger Hofman, 59th minute through Bakker and Jonker's hat-trick goal in the 61st minute on a slight redirect.
Edward pilfered his second for New Zealand, capitalising on a Dutch defensive error in the 52nd minute.
The Black Sticks ended the World League finals with a 3-3 record, with big losses to Germany, England and the Netherlands and wins over India in pool play and knockout wins over Argentina and England in shootouts.
Netherlands 7 (Constantijn Jonker 3, Billy Bakker 2, Bob de Voord, Roger Hofman) New Zealand 2 (Steve Edwards 2). HT: 3-0
- © Fairfax NZ News
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