This Sunday is “Winners’ Day” in FIH Hockey Pro League -
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This Sunday is “Winners’ Day” in FIH Hockey Pro League

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khel Today Bureau

ANTWERP BELGIUM: The Men’s and Women’s teams of Belgium and the Netherlands will play against each other their last 2020-2021 FIH Hockey Pro League matches on Sunday, in Antwerp, Belgium, in what will very much be a “Winners’ Day”.

Indeed, FIH can today confirm that, despite the gigantic efforts of all participating National Associations over the last 15 months to play all initially planned matches of the second edition of the FIH Hockey Pro League in spite of the huge challenges caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic, some of these matches will unfortunately not be able to be staged. After Sunday’s matches, the last remaining games of this season will be the already confirmed double confrontation between Australia and New Zealand on 26-27 June, in Perth, Australia.

Consequently, the suspense about the identity of the winning teams for the 2020-2021 FIH Hockey Pro League season is now over. The reigning Men’s and Women’s World Champions, Belgium and the Netherlands respectively, will be crowned Winners on Sunday. The winners’ trophies, however, will be handed over only after the very last matches of the League. It’s the second consecutive League title for the Dutch, who won the inaugural edition in 2019 as well.

“Of course, it really is a pity that it proves impossible to play all initially scheduled matches. However, approximately 2/3 of the matches will have been played, which frankly, in these extraordinary challenging circumstances due to the pandemic, is a remarkable achievement. This would not have been possible without the immense commitment and dedication of all participating National Associations and athletes. On behalf of FIH, I’d like to extend our sincerest thanks and appreciation to all of them. We look forward to the next edition which will start already in October”, said FIH CEO Thierry Weil.

This Sunday’s matches between the national teams of Belgium and the Netherlands, which are being played at Antwerp’s Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein, are certainly ones to excite the fans.

The respective teams involved will be playing their last competitive matches ahead of the European Championships, with Belgium men, Netherlands men and Netherlands women also very much focussed on the epic event which follows in July: the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

Unusually, these matches are the second of the double-headers between the two nations, with the first games having taken place in November 2020. The men’s clash proved to be an absolute thriller, finishing 4-4 before the Red Lions defeated the Oranje in the shoot-out. The contest was later voted by the fans as the Best FIH Hockey Pro League Match of 2020. The visiting Dutchmen will be keen to spoil the party of the newly confirmed FIH Hockey Pro League champions of 2020-21, knowing that success against the Belgians could provide a huge psychological boost ahead of their European and Olympic campaigns.

In November’s women’s match, the Netherlands – who are targeting gold at both the Euros and the upcoming Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – were comprehensive 4-0 winners, although the Belgians will be looking to change things this time around as they ramp up their preparations for the upcoming European Championships. However, they will have to be at their very best if they are to take anything from this game against Alyson Annan’s imperious Netherlands team.

The matches will be available to watch via television or digital streaming thanks to our broadcast partnerships, as well as on the Watch.Hockey app in every country where a rights holding broadcaster is not showing the matches live.

Following its well-received debut during the recent FIH Hockey Pro League matches between Great Britain and Germany in London, we are delighted to confirm that live audio commentary of this Sunday’s Low Countries derby matches between Belgium and the Netherlands, men and women, will be available via the Watch.Hockey app.

This is a fantastic addition to our coverage of the competition, especially if you are living in a country where geoblocking restrictions are in place. Hockey broadcasting legend Nick Irvine will be once again holding the mic for this special ‘radio’ show, with expert co-commentary coming from revered coach and former Australian international Todd Williams. More information about this initiative can be found by clicking here.

More information about Sunday’s matches can be found below.

Belgium v Netherlands (Men & Women)
Where: Sportcentrum Wilrijkse Plein-Antwerp (BEL)
Date: Sunday 30 May 2021

Women’s Match
Times (CET – UTC +2): 14:00
Match pagesClick here

Current FIH World Ranking: Belgium: 12 | Netherlands: 1
Current FIH Hockey Pro League position: Belgium: 7 | Netherlands: 1
Final standings – FIH Hockey Pro League 2019: Belgium: 5 | Netherlands: 1

Head-to-heads in all competitions (since 2013 – 16 matches)
Wins: Belgium: 2 | Netherlands: 13 | Draws: 1
Goals scored: Belgium: 8 | Netherlands: 41

Team pages (squads & statistics)Belgium | Netherlands

Men’s Match
Times (CET – UTC +2): 16:30
Match pagesClick here

Current FIH World Ranking: Belgium: 1 | Netherlands: 3
Current FIH Hockey Pro League position: Belgium: 1 | Netherlands: 5
Final standings – FIH Hockey Pro League 2019: Belgium: 2 | Netherlands: 3

Head-to-heads in all competitions (since 2013 – 17 matches)
Wins: Belgium: 7 | Netherlands: 8 | Draws: 2
Goals scored: Belgium: 40 | Netherlands: 42

Team pages (squads & statistics)Belgium | Netherlands

You can also keep up to date with all the latest news on the FIH Hockey Pro League via the event website and through FIH social media channels –FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

#FIHProLeague
#HockeyInvites
#PlayHockeyStayHealthy 

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