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Hockey World Cup 2018: Australia and Netherlands set to renew age-old rivalry at Bhubaneswar

The Dutch beat Australia 4-0 in a revenge match in the Rio quarterfinal
The Dutch beat Australia 4-0 in a revenge match in the Rio quarterfinal
Modified 01 Apr 2020, 17:29 IST

No rivalry on a hockey pitch can perhaps be more passionate or intense than an India-Pakistan encounter, but the Dutch and the Aussies are not too far behind either.

While Chris Ciriello scored a memorable hattrick against the Netherlands to power his side to a stunning 6-1 win in the final of the 2014 edition of the World Cup at the Hague, the Dutch returned the compliments in the quarterfinals of the Olympic Games.

At Rio, Billy Bakker, Bob de Voogd, Valentin Verga, and Mink van der Weeden combined to sink the Aussies in the quarterfinals by an imposing 4-0 margin - and thus continued Australia's woeful Olympic record.

The Dutch had an utterly forgettable run in the Hockey World League Finals last December where they ended up in the seventh position, out of eight teams in the fray, but coach Max Caldas was not too perturbed when he spoke to Sportskeeda about his side's performance at Bhubaneswar.

"Well, we did what we wanted to do taking into account the time of the year, the choices that we made with our selection, and the way that we prepared for it. A lot of positive things came out of it for our program, despite finishing in the lower part of the draw."

Caldas was right - the Dutch came back, as strong as ever, in the Champions Trophy at Breda but lost to Australia by a 1-3 margin before eventually ending with a bronze medal.

The age-old rivalry between the two sides goes back a long way, but far as the World Cup is concerned, the Australians have played Holland ten times thus far, ever since losing to the Dutch by a 0-1 margin in the first edition in 1971, where the Kookaburras (would you believe it) finished eighth and the Netherlands sixth.

The Aussies ended up fifth in the second edition of the World Cup in 1975 - but ever since winning bronze in 1978, have maintained an ominous record of making it to the semifinals of every single edition of the competition.

The Kookaburras have won six of their ten World Cup encounters against the Netherlands thus far with the Dutch managing to prevail in the remaining four.

Both sides will be eager to add to a fourth World Cup title to their name - but while the Dutch have failed to win gold since 1998, the two-time defending champions Australia have the added incentive of aiming for a hattrick of titles.


Since 2013, the two titans of world hockey have faced each other eleven times with the Australians prevailing on five occasions.

The Dutch have won four of those encounters and will be keen to prove to their fans, at home and elsewhere, that they still have what it takes to beat the best side in the world and go on to claim a gold which has eluded them for quite a while.

The Aussies have been unbeaten in the pool stages at Bhubaneswar, but while the Netherlands did lose to Germany, Caldas' boys have impressed for the most part - and a hard-fought victory over hosts India in the quarterfinals would have done their confidence a world of good.

A humdinger is on the cards on Super Saturday - so do not miss the action when Daniel Beale earns his 150th cap and two great sporting nations get set to enthral the world with yet another hockey classic.

Check out the 2018 Hockey World Cup schedule for the upcoming matches here.

Published 15 Dec 2018, 10:26 IST
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