FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup: New Zealand, Netherlands post easy wins
While New Zealand scalped down debutant Chile 3-1, the Netherlands made short work of Asian challengers Malaysia 4-0.
New Zealand and the Netherlands punched their way through their opening pool C games with maximum points on the second day of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup at Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium in Rourkela on Saturday.
While New Zealand scalped down debutant Chile 3-1, the Netherlands made short work of Asian challengers Malaysia 4-0. Contrary to expectations, fancied teams did not exert much to clear their first hurdles in the elite 16-nation tournament played simultaneously at Bhubaneswar and Rourkela.
Interestingly, the Netherlands, which won the Cup in 1973, 1990 and 1998, had four different players on the score sheet in the game against Asian dark horses, Malaysia.
Set in motion in the 20th minute by Thijs van Dam’s beautiful field goal, the Dutch consolidated the lead four minutes later when Jip Janssen made no mistake with a penalty stroke award. Incidentally, it was the first penalty stroke conversion on the playfields of Birsa Munda stadium.
Leading by two goals at the breather, the Netherlands took its time in consolidating the lead further in the 47th minute Tien Beins scored the first penalty corner goal for his team.
The Malaysians built pressure and came close to scoring a couple of times but their failure to capitalize on penalty corners and a couple of field-scoring chances deprived them of reducing the margin. The Dutch had the final laugh when in the dying minutes a brilliant opportunist goal by Jorritt Croon completed the tally. His effort was rewarded with the man of the match award.
Earlier, New Zealand experienced little problem in earning maximum of three points in its opening game against South American challengers and World Cup debutants Chile.
The Black Sticks started aggressively having amassed a comfortable 3-0 lead by the time the game was just 19 minutes old. Sam Lane, who was later adjudged man of the match, opened the scoring for Kiwis with a brilliant field goal in the 10th minute.
New Zealand added two more in the next nine minutes as the Chileans were getting their feet grounded on the new surface. A brace by Sam Hiha with goals in the 12th and 19th minute put the Black Sticks in complete command.
Chile, however, drew a consolation by scoring its first-ever World Cup goal in the 50th minute. Credit for this field goal went to Ignacio Contarido. The goal came only after Video Referral by New Zealand was turned down.
The battle for supremacy in pool D will resume tomorrow when India plays England and Spain takes on Wales.