As the road grew closer to the Women’s World Cup title being lifted, so the path to the first Hockey 5s World Cup began.
You couldn’t have missed the scorelines, surely? There were men’s mismatches galore, 41-0 the one which seemed to get the most lambasting as Belgium overcame an Armenian side sporting one 21-year-old, a 15-year-old and players varying ages in between.
This was the inaugural EuroHockey5s for senior men, which took place in Walcz, Poland.
“What is less predictable will be the outcome or results as this will be the start of the EuroHockey5s journey for many of the 13 teams,” the Euro Hockey Federation wrote before the competition.
While Ukraine also racked up a 34-0 win over Armenia and the Netherlands a 20-1 victory over Finland, the final ended on a more respectable note: 4-1 to the Oranje over rivals Belgium.
Poland took third, Switerzerland finished fourth and Austria fifth.
Games were played on the boarded Hockey5s pitches and consisted of two halves of 15 minutes, with a four-minute half-time break
Teams had to have a fully-kitted goalkeeper at all times, while the penalty corner was replaced by a 1 v 1 challenge with the ‘keeper.
Nations such as France, England and Germany were missing from the event.
It remains to be seen how, or if, England will qualify teams for the Hockey 5s World Cup, which is set for Oman in early 2024.