In case you hadn’t heard, New Zealand’s Black Sticks Men have advanced to the final of this year’s FIH Hockey World League after a penalty shootout following the most nail-bitingly close semi final I’ve ever seen against England.
For a mad hockey fan (and sometimes player) like myself, this is some pretty exciting shit. For world number 7-ranked New Zealand, making it to the gold medal match of a major international tournament is a major coup, particularly where sides such as world number 1 Germany, number 2 Australia and now England have all fallen at the play-off stages. The Black Sticks Women have also fought their way to a creditable fifth after a disappointing quarter-final defeat. Not too shabby I reckon, given hockey is apparently the world’s third most-played sport (you learn something new every day, I guess). If only the Herald and their ilk were as excited as I was about this!
Hockey is a pretty great spectator sport, and if you’re looking for a bit more variety in your sporting diet, this clip of the shootout is pretty thrilling stuff. Those sweet moments just after 14:05: magic.