Kookaburras aim to end year with bronze

have lost a sudden death shootout to the Netherlands in the Hockey World Cup semi-final.Kookaburras coach Colin Batch admits he’d change his line-up if his team gets into another shootout in Sunday’s World Cup bronze medal match.
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The world No.1 side will meet England in a battle for third spot after losing a heartbreaking shootout 4-3 to Netherlands in their semi-final.

The consolation match starts at 10pm (AEDT).

The defeat in India, which included a dramatic final-minute n goal to force a shootout, ended their pursuit of an historic third-straight World Cup title.

The shootout went to sudden death after both teams converted on three of their five shots, however, could only score one more goal.

Aran Zalewski and Tim Brand missed their shots, while Daniel Beale was left devastated after having his second attempt swept away.

“We practice (shootouts) a hell of a lot. We went with the five and Andrew Charter as the goalkeeper. We believe that was the right call,” Batch told AAP.

“(But) we’ve got another five guys who can take them. If we have to do it (on Sunday night), we’ll probably change things up.

“But it’s hit and miss.

“Good technique survives sometimes, but you could also be unlucky.”

Batch praised his men for showing courage in coming back from a 2-0 deficit to force the shootout.

“I was really proud of the comeback they made,” he said.

“Credit to the boys that they fought through and stayed calm at the end to score.

“That’s certainly the positive from the game.

“Netherlands are a very experienced team and with that calming affect at the start of the game, they were able to generate those early opportunities.”

The third-place playoff will finish what has been a successful year for the men, who retained top spot in the rankings for the entire season.

Batch’s side claimed almost every trophy on offer, including Commonwealth Games gold, the Champions Trophy and Azlan Shah Cup.

After completing their World Cup commitments, the Kookaburras will turn their focus on the inaugural Pro League beginning in February.

“We want to put everything in this bronze-medal match tomorrow, make sure we win that, and then focus on the Pro League,” Batch said.

“It’s an exciting competition, obviously the first season of it.

“We’re travelling around the world a lot, but we’re playing at home as well.”

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