Australia vs the Netherlands
15th December, Saturday, 18:30 IST
Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar
After an exciting round of league matches, crossover matches, and quarterfinals, the 2018 Hockey World Cup will now witness some really exciting battles between the Top 4 teams in the semifinals.
The second semifinal will be played between the defending World Champions, Australia, and the Netherlands.
The Kookaburras were the toppers in Pool B. They won all three of their matches in the league stage — against Ireland, England, and China — and progressed to the quarterfinal stage.
Colin Batch’s troops met France in the quarterfinals. The French team were having a dream run but it was brought to an end by Australia as they defeated them 3-0.
Young forward Blake Govers has been their star man and produced 6 goals in the tournament. Aran Zalewski, Jeremy Hayward, Craig, Tim Brand, Jake Whetton, Weyer are some of the other players who have been outstanding for the team.
It is one of the most balanced teams in the world with the most resolute defence and an extremely lethal attack. They are sure to give the Netherlands an extremely tough time in the coming semifinal match.
The Dutch have also done exceptionally well in the tournament with the only blip being a 1-4 loss to Germany in the league stage. They won the other two league games convincingly (7-0 against Malaysia and 5-1 against Pakistan).
After defeating Canada 5-0 comfortably in the crossover game, Max Caldas’ troops had a tough challenge awaiting them in the form of India in the quarterfinal stage. Goals from Brinkman and Mink Van Der Weerden helped the Netherlands defeat the Men in Blue 2-1 and steer them to the semifinals.
The Dutch displayed brilliant attacking hockey and will be rearing with confidence. They are sure to give the World’s best team Australia, a tough fight in the semifinal.
The legendary Mink van der Weerden, Thierry Brinkman, Thijs van Dam, Kemperman, Hertzberger, and Pruijser are some of the Dutch players who can cause a handful of problems for Australia.
Form Guide (most recent to oldest, pre-season):
Australia: W W W W W (Excellent form)
Netherlands: W W W L W (Good form)
Head to Head (since 2013):
Won by Australia: 5
Won by Netherlands: 4
Probable Starting XI:
Tyler Lovell (Goalkeeper), Jeremy Hayward, Matt Dawson, Matthew Swann, Jake Whetton, Daniel Beale, Flynn Ogilvie, Aran Zalewski, Blake Govers, Trent Mitton, Tim Brand
Pirmin Blaak, Mink van der Weerden, Sander Baart, Lars Balk, Robbert Kemperman, Billy Bakker, Jake Whetton, Jeroen Hertzberger, Seve van Ass, Valentin Verga, Thierry Brinkman
My Dream XI
Goalkeeper: Pirmin Blaak
Pirmin has been one of the best performing goalkeepers in the Hockey World Cup 2018. The 30-year-old made many stunning saves during the knockout matches and is expected to play an important role against the lethal attack of the Kookaburras.
Defence: Jeremy Hayward, Mink van Der Weerden, Matt Dawson, Lars Balk
Jeremy Hayward will bring his potent drag flicking ability to the fore against Netherlands. The Aussie player has two goals to his name. The 25-year-old was an important part of the 2014 Hockey World Cup-winning squad. He will give his level best to ensure the Aussies make it to the final and have a shot at winning their 3rd successive World Cup.
Mink van der Weerden has lived up to his expectations of being a big match player. The 30-year-old is a penalty corner specialist. He scored two goals in the league stage of the campaign but more importantly scored the winner in the quarterfinal match against the Men in Blue. An important part of the Silver medal-winning team of the 2014 Hockey World Cup, Mink will try and help the Netherlands to reach the Finals this time around as well.
24-year-old Matt Dawson is one of the reliable options for the Aussies at the back. He has put up solid performances and will come into the semifinal all guns blazing.
Lars Balk is a talented young defender. His contribution has been vital for the Netherlands and the match against Aussies will be a big test for him.
Alternatives: Tim Howard/Sander Baart in place of Lars Balk.
Midfield: Robbert Kemperman, Billy Bakker, Aran Zalewski
28-year-old Robbert Kemperman is a brilliant midfielder to have in the team. He is reliable and has also scored two goals in the competition thus far.
Billy Bakker forms a terrific partnership with Robbert. The 30-year-old is an impressive cog in the Dutch machine. His ability to knit pinpoint through balls makes him an effective player.
The Australian skipper Aran Zalewski has come to the party in knockout stages. He scored an important goal in the quarterfinal match against France. The 27-year-old has led his team from the front. With a Champions League gold already in Australia’s kitty this year, he will want to bring more glory to the World Champions to end 2018 on a high.
Alternative: Jake Whetton/Daniel Beale/Corey Weyer in place of Billy Bakker
Forward: Blake Govers, Tim Brand, Thierry Brinkman
Blake Govers is in terrific goal-scoring form. The youngster is currently the top goal scorer of the Hockey World Cup with 6 goals. The Aussies will be banking on him to provide the breakthrough in the important semifinal clash.
Tim Brand is having a sensational World Cup. The youngster has scored 3 goals for Australia so far and will be hoping to add to his tally in the quarterfinal.
Thierry Brinkman has got things right for the Netherlands. The 23-year-old has scored 4 goals in the campaign so far. His ability to find small pockets of space can prove to be quite dangerous against the Kookaburras.
Alternative: Thijs van Dam/Mirco Pruijser/Trent Mitton/Valentin Verga/Jeroen Hertzberger/Seve Van Ass in place of Tim Brand
Must not pick: Sander De Wijn (injured)
Captain: Blake Govers
Vice-captain: Mink van der Weerden
Player to watch out for: Blake Govers
The 22-year-old from Wollongong is the player to watch out for simply due to the energy he brings to the field and his potent goal-scoring ability.