Raipur: Jamie Dwyer marked his 350th international appearance with two assists to help World champions Australia defeat European champions the Netherlands 3-2 to reach the final of the Hero Hockey World League Final 2015 in Raipur, India. The Kookaburras will face either Belgium or India - who meet in their semi-final on Saturday - in the competition final.
In a high quality match, the 36-year-old five times FIH Player of the Year provided the perfect pass for Dylan Wotherspoon to open the scoring before forcing a save from Hero Man of the Match goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann only for Daniel Beale to fire home from close range. The Oceania champions could easily have scored more, but the Dutch fought back with excellent finishes from Constantijn Jonker and Mirco Pruijser either side of half time to level the match at 2-2.
The winning goal arrived in the 42nd minute, with Matt Gohdes getting the perfect touch in the circle to guide the ball just inside the right post, giving Australia a narrow victory over the defending Hockey World League champions.
It doesn’t feel like I’ve played 350 games, to be honest with you”, said Dwyer after the match. “I just want to go out there and play hockey for my country, and to do it so many times, I’m very proud and honoured to do so. Every time I go out there I just really enjoy wearing the green and gold shirt and representing my country. I guess this year I had something to prove, both to myself and to those people who didn’t think I could do it at 36. It is good to be out there, not just participating but also having an influence.”
Netherlands goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann said: “In the first quarter we were nowhere, and we had to get into the game. I’m glad that in the second quarter we came back and scored a goal, and in the end we played way much better than the first quarter.”
Hero Man of the Match: Jaap Stockmann (NED)