Round-Up: FIH Pro League Explodes Into Life

FIHPL Esp v Gbr
The FIH Pro League is the brand-new hockey competition pitting international hockey titans against each other as the bid for Olympic qualification begins.

Setting out to bring entertainment and regular high-quality hockey, it’s certainly been delivered in the opening matches with goals and drama coming in abundance. 

The men began their competition on 19 January as Spain shocked world number one side Belgium by beating them in a shootout after playing out a thrilling 2-2 draw in the first ever FIH Pro League match.

Great Britain backed it up with a bang a week later with goals galore in Valencia, battling back from 4-1 down to beat Spain 6-5 in a thrilling encounter.

Belgium meanwhile bounced back from their opening day loss, defeating reigning Olympic champions Argentina 4-2.

New Zealand - the 2018 Commonwealth Games silver medalists - hosted European champions and World Cup silver medallists The Netherlands in their first game, which was to prove another sensational affair. The Black Sticks came from three goals down to level the scores in an action-packed first-half before The Netherlands snatched a 4-3 victory in an extraordinary match.

The New Zealanders were then involved in another superb game last night as they were the latest side to produce an astonishing comeback to draw 4-4 with Belgium. However this time the Red Lions – who were crowned world champions back in December – held their nerve in the shootout to secure the extra point.

Argentina secured the first win in the women’s FIH Pro League, putting in a strong performance to battle past Belgium 2-0 in Cordoba, with 20 shots being fired between both teams in another attacking fixture.

New Zealand and The Netherlands followed it up with another closely-fought game as just one goal separated the teams, the Dutch showing their class with an incredible Maartje Krekelaar strike in the second-half sealing an opening 1-0 victory for the world champions.

The following game was another incredibly tight affair with New Zealand once again coming out on the wrong end of a 1-0 scoreline, this time against Belgium as Jill Boon’s late equaliser saw the Red Panthers gain their first points of the tournament. 

At the time of writing, Great Britain’s men currently sit atop the men’s table with three points and a 100% ratio, ahead of The Netherlands on goal difference. Belgium currently have the highest overall tally with six but find themselves third, having only taken 66.7% of the total points available to them in their first three matches.

In the women’s league it’s Argentina on top with three points and a 100% ratio, with The Netherlands once again in second place on goal difference. Great Britain begin their campaign against New Zealand on Friday 8 February.

Want to know more about what the FIH Pro League is? Then make sure you read our FAQs by clicking here.

You can also check out the full men’s and women’s fixture lists here.