European sides flying high at indoor world cup

SCHC goalkeeper Alexandra Heerbaart hailed her side’s complete performances so far as they dominate their group stages at the FIH Indoor World Cup in Pretoria.

On Wednesday, they made it four wins from four with a 5-1 win over Austria, record-breaking Donja Zwinkels completing yet another hat-trick for 12 goals in the tournament so far.

 At the other end of the court, the Netherlands have conceded only two goals in Pretoria.

Goalkeeper Heerbaart commented: “Our team defence is really on point and I really think we’re doing it together as a team. Our press is going great and I am happy to help the team wherever needed and be in the position to save some goals.”

The Dutch conclude the group stages early on Thursday morning with top spot in the group all but assured. Austria will also go through from Pool A with three wins from four while the Czech Republic will advance in Pool B with Ukraine and Belgium in good shape to join them.

On the men’s side, Austria won the big battle at the head of Pool A, making it four wins from four with a 4-1 victory over the Dutch. 

Making his scoring debut in the tournament was Austria’s Michael Körper, who flew in later than the rest of the team after helping his Harvestehuder THC side land the German Indoor Championship title over the weekend. 

Körper made up for lost time, scoring all four of Austria’s goals in their 4-1 victory over the Netherlands.

“I’m definitely happy. Yesterday [against Belgium] I had many chances for four or five goals and I didn’t score, but it was my first game on this pitch. I arrived the day before,” said Körper.

“So I got used to the pitch now and connected to the guys again and I think that showed today with four goals.”

Austria and the Netherlands are through and they will be joined by Belgium who secured their place in the quarterfinals with a 4-1 victory over Namibia. 

In the other men’s pool, a 7-4 victory for the United States over Argentina saw the Americans finishing the day on top, also ensuring their passage through.

Aki Kaeppeler scored three of those goals, his contribution crucial against the determined Argentinians, who have made an impressive impact on their tournament debut.

Argentina and Iran are also through with Namibia in pole position to complete the sides advancing from the group.