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India finish sixth

New Delhi: The Netherlands, on Saturday, gave a dazzling display of speed and skills to outclass New Zealand 7-2 and win the inaugural Hockey World League (HWL) Final title at the Dhyan Chand Stadium, here.

Given the fact that the Netherlands began their campaign in the tournament with a 2-5 defeat against Argentina, it was certainly a memorable triumph for the former world champions. With less than five months to go for the World Cup on their home turf, this win would also boost their confidence as they have failed to win a major world title in the last six years.

Interestingly, Argentina, who started off so well, finished last in the eight-team competition when they went down to Germany 1-2. England bagged the third place with a 2-1 win over Australia in a well-fought encounter.

Hosts India, who stunned Germany on Friday, finished sixth after losing to Belgium 1-2. The hosts took the lead through C Thimmaiah in the 59th minute, who celebrated his 24thbirthday by making most of a goalmouth scramble. Belgium, however, pressed hard and silenced the home fans with two quick strikes in the 67th and 68th minute.

Florent Van Aubel was the first to score when he cleverly deflected the ball to beat India custodian PR Sreejesh. Before the Indians could recover from the shock, Tom Boon slotted home the winning goal off a penalty corner. India coach Terry Walsh, however, expressed satisfaction with his team’s performance. “It was a fair result… These kind of matches mostly come down to odd goals… We have learned a lot from this tournament. We can fight any top side now,” he said.