Hockey Champions Trophy 2018: Know your team - Netherlands
The Netherlands is perhaps the most consistent side ever in the history of field hockey. Only next to Team India in terms of success, this is the only team that has maintained their success rate in both the disciplines of field hockey ever since the sport became popular. No wonder why Netherlands, host of the previous FIH Hockey World Cup [both Men's & Women's] has been accorded the honor of hosting the last ever edition of FIH Men's Hockey Champions Trophy.
The third most successful team ever after India and Germany in terms of success at major world tournaments of field hockey, including Olympics and World Cups, Netherlands is one of the most powerful teams on paper as they move in for the last edition of the FIH Men's Champions Trophy.
Their stint at the coveted tournament
On paper, Netherlands is one of the strongest teams. It is only the third most successful team after Germany and Australia at the FIH Men's Champions Trophy, having won the top honors 8 times since the inaugural edition of 1978, held at Lahore. They've also finished up as runners-up 6 times [during the period from 1987 to 2012] and have also maintained a podium finish for another 8 times, the last being a bronze from 2011 edition.
Struggle with Current Form
However, as they gear up for the final edition, Netherlands will not only have to win the tournament, but also bring an end to their struggling form, something that has begun since Rabobank FIH Hockey World Cup 2014. After losing to Australia by 1-6, Netherlands has gone only downhill, failing to climb up the podium for any major event.
Despite being crowned European champions in 2015 and 2017, the Netherlands for the first time finished outside the medal bracket at Rio Olympics 2016, their worst performance since Beijing 2008. It's been 6 years since they last won a medal at the FIH Champions Trophy, when the Dutch team won the silver in the 2012 edition.
So this time, it's now or never for the Dutch team, if they wished to be considered as a serious medal prospect for the upcoming Champions Trophy, as well as the ultimate sojourn of Tokyo Olympics, 2020.