The Dutch junior national team finished fifth at the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur. In the final placement match, the Netherlands won 2-1 over Australia, and it was fortunate for the world that the score did not rise further. Dylan Lussier and Casper van der Veen scored the goals for Jessie Maheu’s side, who also finished the previous 2021 World Cup here.
With the narrow victory over Australia, the Dutch junior team finished the tournament in a dignified manner. This fifth place became the highest possible number after they lost unnecessarily to India (4-3) in the quarter-finals. A defeat four days ago that has not yet been forgotten. Because of course they also looked at the today’s program with a bad feeling this morning, in a tournament where they were the superior team in all the matches. India will soon play for a medal. France, which the Netherlands easily won in a practice match just before departure, could compete for the gold medal.
They could have been there too. On the podium of honor in this World Cup. But the truth was different. The Netherlands were once again the more dominant team over Australia. The beginning was beautiful and attacking, but the Dutch Junior team was feeling nervous after ten minutes. This is because Jessie Maheu’s team has already lost its video referee. This happened after an intentional call from Olivier Hortensius, who himself conceded a free ball. He pointed out that Australia committed the first violation, but the referee did not want to hear about that.
One-way traffic which produces very little
This setback did not deter the Netherlands Junior team. The opportunities kept coming. In fact, a lot for the Netherlands who have struggled to come back throughout the tournament. Boris Ardenburg’s shot is wide, and Joby Woolpert, Casper van der Veen and Pippin van der Heyden (from the first corner of the game) are saved by Australian goalkeeper Max Larkin. He was developing into the hero of the first half until he choked. He was completely at fault for Jan van’t Lande’s shot, which rolled between his leg guards. For Dylan Lucier – the match-winner against Argentina two days earlier – scoring was a piece of cake: after 24 minutes, the score was finally 1-0.
Australia had traveled almost the same path as the Netherlands in their final match of the tournament. The group stage was not easy, as they lost to Argentina (1-0) and were eliminated by France (3-2) in the qualifying rounds. Guy Stacey, who had been so successful as an Oranje Zwart player a few decades earlier, bounced back against Pakistan, although the 7-5 scoreline was hardly a cause for celebration. The Australians made a lot of mistakes in defense there. Today they were basically trying to retreat and survive.
Because it was entirely up to the Netherlands not to decide the match at an early stage. Even after the opening goal, the Dutch team had a thousand and one chances. The one-way traffic yielded another bonus just before the end of the third quarter. It was a beautiful goal, with Casper van der Veen raising the score to 2-0. The striker shot a powerful ball from the penalty spot, let it bounce, and then shot the ball powerfully into the goal.
Still tense after trailing 2-1
At the Dutch Juniors, Nicky Verbeek, as agreed, rested Dan Tavorn at half-time. The Eindhoven native barely had anything to do in the third quarter. After Van der Veen’s goal, there wasn’t much to enjoy at the sweaty Malaysian National Hockey Arena, which was even more humid than in previous days. Australia managed to make it 2-1 in the final stretch from the first corner kick they received through Cooper Burns. It made the last two minutes even more exciting. The Netherlands has lost its energy, but it doesn’t get any more exciting. An illustrative example is a pass from Aardenburg who shot the ball into a large restricted area in the final minute. The tube was completely empty after a very hard fought victory at the end.
Thus, the Netherlands ranked fifth in this tournament. Which is impressive on one hand, after that knock in the quarter-finals. On the other hand, this other feeling also still exists. There was a lot going for it from this final ranking. The Dutch junior team also proved this against Argentina and Australia. And this fact still secretly hurts a little.
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