London, August 6: The Netherlands ended Ireland's fairytale run with a resounding 6-0 win, en route to clinching a record eighth women's World Cup title in the final at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
The Dutch were ruthless in their dismantling of the Irish defence - which had been one of their strengths - with six different players on the scoresheet.
Lidewij Welten, Kelly Jonker, Kitty van Male, Malou Pheninckx, Marloes Keetels and Caia van Maasakker all scored for the Dutch, who extended their unbeaten run in all competitions to 32 matches.
The top four goal scorers in the tournament all came from Australian legend Alyson Annan's squad, with van Male topping the order with eight.
"We deservedly won, we played the best hockey throughout the tournament and this was shown," Alyson said.
"There are things we have taken from this tournament that are not good enough and we need to improve on those. Some attacking things and our finsihing also needs to be improved on There are also some defensive things that need to be improved."
Asked how she would beat the Netherlands if she were head coach to another nation, the World Cup-winning coach said: "That is a question I have set myself - that is my homework."
However, Ireland's mix of lawyers, doctors and some professional players - all of whom have to pay an annual 550-euro charge to supplement their funding - still emerged with great credit, beating India in the quarterfinals and then Spain in the semifinals having begun the tournament ranked 15th of the 16 finalists.
The Irish, transformed by coach Graham Shaw who assumed control just after their shattering defeat to China three years ago saw them miss out on qualifying for the Rio Olympic Games, took defeat in good heart.
"Well done to the world number 1's," tweeted Irish Hockey, whose women's team were appearing in their first World Cup finals in 16 years.
Just proud. Well done @irishhockey ladies. Brilliant journey.— Brian O'Driscoll (@BrianODriscoll) August 5, 2018
"We couldn't be prouder of the #greenarmy, making history and winning a World Cup silver medal!!!! Keep watching folks, we've got a medal presentation to attend."
The consolation for the Irish is that their ranking will improve considerably which could be crucial when it comes to the Olympic qualifiers for Tokyo 2020.
The relative youth of their squad also bodes well with just two of the 18-strong squad older than 27.
Earlier Spain beat Australia 3-1 in the third-place play-off match for their first-ever bronze medal at this level.
SPECIAL FIH AWARDS
Best Player: Lidewij Welten (NED)
Best Goalkeeper: Ayeisha McFerran (IRL)
Young Player: Lucina von der Hyde (ARG)
Top Scorer: Kitty van Male (8) (NED)
(With FIH and Agency inputs)