Netherlands men sign off great season with win

The first 15 minutes saw Spain win five penalty corners but fail to convert any of them. The Netherlands had few shooting chances but the opening goal was created through sheer patience. Steijn van Heijningen was able to steal the ball in the Spanish defensive quarter and release it to Thijs van Dam. Van Dam made no mistake as he ran straight into the Spain circle and smashed the ball past Adrian Rafi.

The second goal was largely the work of Seve van Ass as the tall midfielder drove the ball along the Spanish baseline before slipping it to Tjep Hoedemakers. He, in turn, put the ball across the front of the goal and Jair van der Horst was on hand to punch it home. The third goal was a spectacular shot from Floris Wortelboer. He picked up the ball wide in the Spanish circle, brought it onto his open stick and then smashed it past Rafi.

At the other end of the field, Pirmin Blaak in the Dutch goal was having his own fabulous performance. Time and again he denied the Spanish attack with a series of athletic and reactionary saves.

In the second half it was much of the same. Spain continued to create chances only to discover Pirmin Blaak had erected a wall around his goal. Terrance Pieters was the recipient of a pass from Steijn van Heijningen, which left him in the perfect position to send the ball into the goal for a 4-0 lead.

With five minutes left, Blaak gave way to Derck Meijer. The new goalkeeper stood up well but a salvo of shots finally found a way through as Borja Lacalle picked up a rebound and smashed the ball into the goal to give Spain a consolation.

Player of the Match Pirmin Blaak said: ‘I am happy to finish with this performance. We changed a few things which meant we didn’t start well. We tried to improve but they created too many chances. It was a bad performance by us but after the past two years it was nice to perform in front of crowds again.’

FIH Hockey Pro League champions:

Argentina women

Netherlands men

To see the final women’s FIH Pro League Standings, click here. To see the final men’s FIH Pro League Standings, click here.