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Women's Hockey World Cup: Netherlands win final to end Irish odyssey

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Holland win Hockey World Cup
bbc.comNetherlands have been crowned Hockey World Cup winners for a record eighth time after a crushing 6-0 win ended Ireland's fairytale tournament.Four goals in a seven-minute spell around the half-time break earned the Dutch an emphatic victory.Ireland had won new fans on their unlikely road to the final but found no answer to their opponents' intensity.
Despite the defeat, Ireland are expected to climb up to 10th in the world rankings for the first time.
Ireland's path to the World Cup final
Lidewij Welten, Kelly Jonker, Kitty van Male, Malou Pheninckx, Marloes Keetels and Caia van Maasakker all scored for the Dutch, who have extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 32 matches.The top four goal scorers in the tournament all came from Alyson Annan's squad - van Male topping the order with an incredible eight goals for the defending champions.
Playing without fear
The only other World Cup meeting between these two teams took place in the group stages of the 2002 tournament when the Dutch crushed Ireland 6-0 on their way to the final.Ireland coach Graham Shaw revealed after the semi-final win against Spain that he had tried to set up a match against the reigning World League champions on several occasions without success in an effort to test his team against the best in the world.Despite going up against the seven-time World Champions, Ireland midfielder Chloe Watkins had promised that her team would continue to "play without fear" as they had throughout the tournament and they began brightly in front of a largely green-clad crowd in London.But Shaw's side found that the relentless pressing of European champions too difficult to withstand as they fell behind after just seven minutes.The impressive Welten picked up the ball inside a crowded circle and cleverly rolled her marker before unleashing a powerful reverse shot that flew past goalkeeper Ayeisha McFerran.
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A devastated Ireland captain Katie Mullan at the final whistle
Dutch press home advantage
Trailing in the biggest match of their careers, Ireland remained composed in the face of the relentless Dutch press.The holders' first penalty corner finished in a powerful shot from Lauren Stam before Ireland's Shirley McCay produced a brave a diving block as the Green Army only trailed by a goal after the opening quarter.Netherlands doubled their advantage in the 19th minute after McFerran made a superb kick-save but Jonker pounced on the rebound to score.Roisin Upton made a brilliant goal-line clearance to keep Irish hopes alive but the Dutch found an extra gear as half time loomed with van Male and Pheninckx scoring within a two minute spell to push their team four goals clear.The goals continued to flow at the start of the third period as Keetels prodded home from close range after a good run by player of the tournament, Weltens.The final goal came in the 34th minute when van Maasakker's superb flick from yet another penalty corner flew past McFerran and in off the post.
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