New Delhi: Constantijn Jonker slammed a hat-trick to help the Netherlands spank New Zealand 7-2 in a lop-sided summit clash and lift the inaugural Hero Hockey World League Final title here today.
A cagey first 10 minutes saw both teams testing each other, but providing few real scoring opportunities at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
It was the Netherlands who broke the deadlock when Jonker (17th) hit the ball from a seemingly impossible angle past an outstretched Devon Manchester in the Black Sticks goal.
The Netherlands put pressure on New Zealand defence in the last 15 minutes of the first half by winning two penalty corners. They doubled their lead in the 23rd minute through Billy Bakker`s field goal as New Zealand struggled to cope with the ferocity of the Dutch attack.
The Netherlands made the scoreline 3-0 just at the stroke of half time when Jonkers (35th) deflected a hit from the midfield into New Zealand goal.
The second half got off to a scintillating start as the Netherlands extended their lead through Bob de Voogd (36th). But Steve Edwards (37th) pulled one back for New Zealand with a field strike to make the scoreline 4-1.
The game continued to be open with both teams using long passes to penetrate opposition defence, but again it was the Netherlands who found the back of the net through Rogier Hofman`s (45th) field goal to take the match beyond New Zealand`s reach.
Edwards (52nd) scored his second goal for the Black Sticks with another field effort before Bakker (59th) restored the Netherlands` lead with yet another field goal.
Minutes later, Jonker (61st) got his hat-trick after running onto a ball fired into the circle and tapping it home to give the Netherlands their maiden HWL Final crown.
Earlier in the day, England won the bronze medal after stunning world champions Australia 2-1 in a hard-fought third-fourth place match.
The first half of the bronze medal match was an intense affair with both teams, more or less, enjoying an equal share of attacking play.
England took the lead when Tom Carson (13th minute) scored from their first chance from close range. But the Kookaburras fought back immediately through Glenn Turner`s field strike in the 16th minute.
Thereafter, Australia put the English defence under lot of pressure but goalkeeper George Pinner rose to the occasion and pulled off some brilliant saves to go into the breather tied at 1-1.
Australia earned early penalty corners at the start of the second half but failed to capitalise on them.
Shortly afterwards, England`s Alistair Brogdon missed a golden opportunity to take the lead when he hit the upright from wide angle after dodging past Aussie goalkeeper Tyler Lovell.
Adam Dixon also came close to scoring for England when his backhand stroke missed the goal by centimetres.
However, skipper Barry Middleton restored England`s lead in the 54th minute by deflecting home a great pass from Ashley Jackson.
Australia threatened the England goal with a series of penalty corners but the world champions failed to breach the stubborn English defence.
Australia`s last chance to equalise came just second from the final hooter through a penalty corner. Turner`s shot found its way into the goal but umpire Roel van Eert called the video umpire to check whether it was a goal or not.
To Australia`s disappointment, the video umpire ruled that it was not a goal as England ran away with the bronze medal.