History awaits two-time defending champions Australia as they chase a record hat-trick of titles, taking on Netherlands in the semi-finals of the men’s hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.
World no. 1 Australia is second only to four-time champions Pakistan, having won the world title thrice before, which includes back-to-back gold medals in the last two editions of the tournament in 2010 and 2014.
Come Saturday, the Kookaburras will be chasing their third consecutive world crown. But it would be easier said than done as in world no.4 Netherlands a tough contest awaits Australia.
The Dutch, who have won the title thrice before — the last time being in 1998 –, too would be desperate to break their 20-year-old jinx.
2018 World Cup Performance
- AUS 2-1 IRL
- ENG 0-3 AUS
- AUS 11-0 CHN
- QF – AUS 3-0 FRA
- NED 7-0 MAS
- GER 4-1 NED
- NED 5-1 PAK
- Crossover – NED 5-0 CAN
- QF – IND 1-2 NED.
Who to watch
Jake Whetton, Blake Grovers, and Aran Zwaleski,
Billy Bakker, Mink van der Weerden and Jeroen Hertzberger
There is hardly anything to differentiate between the two sides going by recent head-to-head record.
Since 2013, Australia and Netherlands have played each other 11 times with the Kooburras winning five and losing four while two ended in draws.
The Australia-Netherlands match has all the makings of a classic. In 2014 at The Hague, Australia came out on top against Netherlands 6-1 in front of home crowd to lift their second consecutive World Cup.
And Saturday’s encounter will provide the Dutch an opportunity to avenge their loss four years ago.