The Red Lions will play their last two official Hockey Pro League games of the year against the Netherlands on Friday (6:30 p.m.) and Sunday (2:00 p.m.).
This double confrontation, which has been moved from Rotterdam to Amsterdam due to the new wave of coronavirus, takes place behind closed doors in the Wagener Stadium in Amstelveen and marks the entry of the Oranje into the competition under their new coach Jeroen Delmee. The Belgians, Olympic and world champions, were left with two convincing successes ahead of Germany at the start of the tournament in Uccle a month ago.
Revived after their internship at COIB in Belek, the Red Lions want to end 2021 in style. Even if 8 more Pro League games are on their program in 2022, the number 1 in the world sees these two lowland derbies as crucial for defending their coronation in the Pro League. “If we beat the Netherlands twice, I think the title will practically be won,” said John-John Dohmen in Belek last week.
The Netherlands, which dropped to fourth in the world after their fifth place at the Olympic Games, will present a selection that is completely younger than Tokyo this weekend. Exit Jeroen Hertzberger, Billy Bakker, Mink van der Weerden, Robbert Kemperman or Mirco Pruijser, now only Thierry Brinkman, Sander de Wijn and goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak will count more than 100 capes against the Belgians. A famous contrast when compared to the core of Michel van den Heuvel, where most executives, except Thomas Briels, have signed for a few more seasons.
Striking statistics: The number of selections by Dohmen (418), Captain Félix Denayer (344) and Cédric Charlier (338), so only 1,106 capes in between, clearly exceeds that of the entire Dutch contingent that was called up this weekend. End (891).
For Arthur Van Doren, this will not change the situation. “I’ve been playing in the Netherlands for a few years and I know the qualities of their players. Lots of young people knock on the door of their national team and they are not lacking in talent, ”said the Bloemendaal defender. “It will be a new challenge for us because a lot of the people we knew very well are no longer there. But there are still prestige duels against the Netherlands. We’ll do everything we can to keep the audience happy behind their home screens, ”concluded King Arthur, two-time best player in the world (2017, 2018).