Australia extended their hold over the World Cup they won in New Delhi four years ago with an authoritative 6-1 win over hosts The Netherlands in the most one-sided final ever in World Cup history. The win not only denied the Dutch a unique double but also avenged their women's defeat at the hands of the Dutch on Saturday.
With Ric Charlesworth having declared that this was his final stint as the coach, it was an ideal send-off present for multi-talented coach. Charlesworth, who won the silver at 1976 Olympics as player, was a huge success as a coach. He won the World Cup twice with the Australian women's team in 1994 and 1998 and now two World Cup titles with the men in 2010 and 2014. He has also won the Champions Trophy and the Commonwealth Games with both men's and women's teams. He also won the Olympics with women but not with the men.
Charlesworth said Mark Knowles was made "the leader" after the London Olympics. "It was the players who elected Knowles as their leader," said Charlesworth. "The difference between the two teams was that we created more opportunities and we capitalised on them."
Chris Ciriello, called the 'Big Dog' by his friends, scored a rare hat-trick in the final, while Kieran Givers, Glenn Turner and Jamie Dwyer contributed one each after Jeroen Hertzberger had put the Dutch ahead in the 14th minute. The Kyocera Stadium decked in Orange broke into euphoria at Hertzberger's goal, but it was all short-lived and by the end they were stunned into silence.
Ciriello would not take credit for the hat-trick he turned in, saying, "The boys played really well today, I was just lucky to be finishing it. It is not just a hat-trick for me, it's for the rest of my team and Australia as well."
Veteran Jamie Dwyer, who won his second World Cup besides the two silver from 2002 and 2006, also became Australia's joint highest capped player alongside Jason Stacy. He said: "We have played really great hockey throughout the tournament, it's the best hockey I think we have ever played. The game is getting faster and more attractive, and the Dutch played a really good game but thankfully we got the better of them."
The Australians were fast and relentless. They had the Dutch on ropes for most part of the game, though it was the Dutch, who had a couple of early counter attacks by Billy Bakker but Aussie goalkeeper Andrew Charter was up to the task against the penalty corners taken by Dutch drag flicker, Mink Van der Weerden. Fourteen minutes into the match, Hertzberger picked up the ball outside the 25m line, skipped past his marker and unleashed a thunderous back-hand strike into the bottom left corner to send the home crowd into delirium.
But soon after Ciriello drag-flicked his team back into the game with a 20th minute penalty corner strike to which Dutch keeper Jaap Stockmann got a toe but it was not enough. Four minutes later Govers producing a spectacular first time back-hand strike to make it 2-1.
Australia's dominance highlighted by 17 entries into Dutch scoring area against just three from the hosts, resulted in a third goal soon after interval as Turner completed a great run down the right from Simon Orchard. The knock-out blows came as Ciriello got two goals in a span of six minutes and the score was embarrassingly bigger.
Dwyer, a five-times FIH Player of the Year, playing his 321st international, wove his way along the back line before knocking it in for a goal that made it a tennis-like scoreline. The Australians did not ease up even with that margin as they produced one of their finest performances.
Stopwatch: Final: Australia 6 bt The Netherlands 1; 3-4 place: Argentina 2 bt England 0; 5-6 place: Belgium 4 bt Germany 2; 7-8 place: New Zealand 4 bt Spain 1 in shootouts (1-1)