Kookaburras crowned Hockey World Cup champions

The Kookaburras are world champions once again, defending their World Cup title with a 6-1 demolition of the Netherlands.


Powerful defender, and penalty corner specialist, Chris Ciriello was the hat-trick hero as Australia dismantled the Dutch to silence the raucous home crowd in the Hague on Sunday.

The win confirms the Kookaburras place atop the world, and is their third World Cup triumph – defending their 2010 title.

Australia’s goals came from familiar faces, with their two leading scorers Ciriello and Kieran Govers both on the scoresheet.

The pair had entered the final with four goals apiece, but Ciriello finished as Australia’s leading sharpshooter with his hat-trick carrying him to seven for the tournament – behind only Argentina’s Gonzalo Peillat (10).

Ciriello, who finished the match with ice on his shoulder, and Govers delivered first half strikes to hand coach Ric Charlesworth a 2-1 lead at the break, which was extended by a further two goals quickly after halftime as Australia assumed complete control.

Throughout the tournament Australia have earned plaudits for their blistering starts – they went five consecutive games scoring a goal in the opening seven minutes.

But it was the Dutch who drew first blood, with Jeroen Hertzberger scoring an exceptional solo goal in which he evaded Robert Hammond’s tackle before firing a tomahawk past Andrew Charter, who had a terrific tournament.

But Australia’s response was as swift as it was severe – with Ciriello converting from the first penalty corner with an expert drag flick.

Four minutes later Govers outdid everyone with an exquisite reverse stick shot from the top of the circle that sailed into the top right corner of the goal.

That goal proved pivotal, as did Glenn Turner’s persistent effort two minutes after the break to make it a two-goal buffer.

Turner’s first effort was cleared from the line by the Dutch goalie, but his second effort couldn’t be stopped as it bobbled over an outstretched leg.

Ciriello then killed off any hope of a Dutch comeback with two goals in six minutes – which was always going to be an unassailable lead against Australia’s sterling defence, which finished the tournament with just three goals conceded.

Australia’s commitment to defence was typified by an outstanding cover defensive effort from midfield Simon Orchard who raced back to single-handedly defuse a promising Dutch counter-attack.

Five-time player-of-the-year Jamie Dwyer, who equalled Jay Stacey’s record of 321 Kookaburra appearances on Sunday, put the icing on the cake with a terrific solo effort six minutes from time.

As Australia’s lead grew, Dutch players started to express their frustrations at the physical nature of the contest.

Orchard was given a yellow card, and a five-minute sin bin, as was Dutch star Robbert Kemperman for an off-the-ball incident, while Australian pair Glenn Turner and Robert Hammond were handed green cards, and two-minute sin bins, for separate incidents.