Friday, December 1, 2023

Australia men and Netherlands women end 2021 as world’s best

Despite not playing since the Olympics, Australia men have overtaken Belgium and end 2021 as world No.1 in the latest FIH world hockey rankings.

Belgium’s recent FIH Hockey Pro League draw and defeat to the Netherlands saw them lose top spot to Australia, the team they beat to Olympic gold at Tokyo 2020.

The Kookaburras close 2021 with 2642.25 points, just 10 points ahead of Belgium, who have 2632.12.

TIndia sit third with 2296.04, with the Netherlands (2234.33) and Germany (2038.71) in fourth and fifth positions respectively. The top 10 is completed by England, Argentina, New Zealand, Spain and Malaysia.

Netherlands were unstoppable on way to Tokyo Olympic gold PIC: REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

No team was going to halt Alyson Annan’s Netherlands, who end the year as the world’s best women’s side once again.

The Dutch powered to the FIH Hockey Pro League and EuroHockey Championship titles before landing their fourth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo, defeating Argentina to gold.

The Oranje end the year over 600 ranking points ahead of second-placed England. Olympic silver medallists Argentina will begin 2022 third in the FIH World Rankings, just 14 points behind England.

The remainder of the top 10 is completed by Australia, Germany, Spain, Belgium, New Zealand, India and China respectively.

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