- Hertzberger hits treble as Dutch make title intentions clear against Malaysia
- Netherlands star Kemperman scores on his 200th senior international appearance
- Miltkau strike gives Germany narrow triumph over Pakistan’s Green Shirts
Bhubaneswar, India: Day Four of the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 was all about Pool D, with the Netherlands making a big statement against Malaysia and Germany edging to a narrow victory over a well-organised Pakistan side.
The Netherlands (FIH Hero World Ranking: 4) were a cut above Malaysia (WR:12) in the first two periods of the day’s opening match, showing brilliant movement to cause the team from Asia no end of problems. Jeroen Herzberger’s remarkable return from the international wilderness continued, with the 32-year-old forward scoring two wonderful backhand finishes either side of supplying a perfect pass for Mirco Pruijser to score as the Dutch raced into a 3-0 half time lead. It was an advantage that would certainly have been bigger were it not for veteran Malaysia goalkeeper Kumar Subramiam, who made numerous crucial saves to stop The Netherlands from running riot.
The Dutch continued their dominance after half time, with Mirco Pruijser and Billy Bakker both hitting the frame of the goal before Mink van der Weerden scored a penalty corner drag-flick to make it 4-0. The score was moved to 5-0 before the end of the third quarter when Robbert Kemperman volleyed home from close range, making the occasion of his 200th senior international appearance even more memorable. A further two goals were scored by the rampant Dutch side in the final quarter, with Thierry Brinkman firing home a glorious backhand effort before Odisha Player of the Match Jeroen Herzberger completed his hat-trick in the final minute of the game. It was a terrific performance from the European champions, who have given early indication that they very much mean business here in Bhubaneswar.
Speaking after the match, Netherlands Head Coach Max Caldas was satisfied by his team’s performance against a side that he said he respected greatly. “Malaysia in the past few years have got good results. We took them very seriously. Things developed our way today, and I’m happy about that.”
If the first match was one-sided, the day’s second contest was anything but. Germany (WR:6) and Pakistan (WR:13) could not be separated in the first two quarters of game in which the defences of both teams excelled.
The match burst into life in the third quarter, with Germany breaking the deadlock thanks to a wonderfully worked goal that was expertly finished by Marco Miltkau, who dived at full stretch to chip the ball over Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt and into the unguarded net. The Green Shirts came close to levelling moments later through a sliding Muhammad Zubair, but the Pakistan forward was unable to trouble Germany goalkeeper Tobias Walter with his attempted deflection.
Germany controlled the latter stages of the game to seal the victory, with Mats Grambusch being named the Odisha Player of the Match for his fine performance in midfield. However, Pakistan’s excellent performance suggests that they have the potential to upset the FIH Hero World Rankings at the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018.
“Pakistan are a strong team and they played really well today”, said Germany captain Martin Häner after the match. “I’m always happy when we win, it is not always about scoring seven or eight goals. As a defender I’m happy we didn’t concede.”
Day Five of the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 takes place on Sunday 2nd December, a day that will feature the second set of matches from Pool C. Canada (WR:11) take on South Africa (WR:15) at 1700 IST (UTC+5.30), with both teams searching for their first points of the competition after defeats in their respective opening matches. The 1900 match will be a clash between the two winners of those opening games, with host nation India (WR:5) taking on Belgium (WR:3) in front of another 15,000-capacity crowd at the Kalinga Stadium.
Speaking ahead of his team’s clash with South Africa, Canada captain Scott Tupper said: “Obviously, it’s a hugely important game for both teams and will impact who goes through to the next round. Though we had patches of good play against Belgium, we’ll be hoping to create more opportunity in the attacking area and capitalize on a few more chances. We were strong defensively in our first game, and it’s critical that we maintain that mentality in our own half against South Africa. Ultimately, that team that prepares well and performs the best will come out on top.”
In other news, Spain team captain Miguel Delas (#7) has been ruled out for the rest of the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 through injury. For more information on that story, click here.
The Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 takes place between 28 November and 16 December. The Men’s World Cup is played every four years. For all information regarding the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, including the full schedule, teams, news and more, click here.
Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018
Day 4 Results – 1 December 2018: Pool D
Netherlands 7, Malaysia 0
Odisha Player of the Match: Jeroen Herzberger (NED)
Germany 1, Pakistan 0
Odisha Player of the Match: Mats Grambusch (GER)