Argentina puts it across New Zealand; Korea wallops Canada
The duel between the two super powers of Europe, the defending champion, Germany, and the Netherlands produced an exhilarating fare of attacking hockey in the Hero Honda World Cup on Sunday. The teams shared four goals.
With 10 points and a match remaining with Korea, the Dutchmen lead the table while Germany has eight points from the same number of matches.
The needle match was commendable more for the technical excellence.
The youthful German squad had to contend with the experience of Dutch stars like Teun di Nooijer, Floris Evers, Geert Dericx and goal-keeper Guus Vogles.
Effective wing play
If the Dutch team had the edge it was largely on account of the effective wing play by Evers, Joeren Hearzburger led by their commander in the zone, di Nooijer.
The Dutchmen forced three penalty corners. The two taken by Taeke Taekema were challenged well by the defenders but it was left to the colt, Jolie Wouter, to hit the target beating Tim Jessulat close on half-time.
The Germans threaded a few dangerous forays too thanks to the nippy runs in by Matthias Witthaus and Mortiz Furste. The Dutch defenders came under some pressure but managed to keep the score board blank for Germany.
But Gemany roared back in the second half when Oliver Korn deflected in a cross from Christoph Menke. Within a minute came another surge but Vogels came up with a splendid save to stop a shot by Benjamin Wess.
Germany struck what looked the match winner seven minutes before the hooter. A powerful drive by Martin Haner split the defence and even as the goal-keeper rushed out to save, the ball popped up. Jan-Marco Montag smashed the ball in.
The spontaneous cheers from the German supporters proved evanescent. di Nooijer who missed a chance a few seconds before made amends for the lapse flicking a cross from the right.
Earlier, Argentina inflicted a 1-0 defeat on New Zealand in the Hero Honda hockey World Cup on Sunday. This was Argentina's first win in four matches. The Koreans should welcome this outcome as New Zealand's reverse has pushed the Kiwis to the fourth spot in the table in Pool A giving the third to Korea which recorded a huge victory over Canada earlier to take its tally to seven points.
Argentina played tough, as always, producing some stunning shots and overpowering the Kiwi defenders during a few spells. In Juan Tomas, the Argentines had an intrepid goal-keeper who brought off good saves.
He even saved a penalty stroke by Ryan Archibald late in the first half. A penalty corner hit by Shea Macleese struck Oscar Fernando's leg. Umpire Christian Blasch had no hesitation in showing the dreaded spot.
The all important goal for Argentina emerged midway in the second half from a fierce free hit by Padro Ibarra. Awaiting the cross near the New Zealand goal was Facundo Callioni, who directed the speeding ball into the net, dodging the usually dependable goal-keeper Pontifex. In fact, just a minute before he had brought off a splendid save from a penalty corner shot by Ibarra.
Korea needed a big win and wake up from the slumber of an insipid show against the Kiwis. The 9-2 victory over Canada came as a breath of fresh air for a combination looking for a route to the place, at least in the top three of Pool A.
The Canadians held on gamely for the major part of the first half. The defenders with the veteran Rob Short as the fulcrum kept the quick moving Koreans under check.
In the second half, the Koreans demolished whatever challenge that the Canadians could fork up. They slugged in seven goals during this phase despite conceding two goals to Philip Wright.
This was Korea's biggest win in World Cup bettering the previous best of 7-2 against Belgium in 1994.
Korea took its tally to seven points from four matches with a game remaining against the Dutch on Tuesday.
The results: Pool A: Korea 9 (Hyun Nam 2, Jang Jong 3, Young Nam, Seung Lee 2, Yung Soon Woon, You Hyo Sik ) beat Canada 2 (Philip Wright 2) HT 2-0.
Argentina 1 (Facundo Callioni) beat New Zealand 0. HT 0-0.
Germany 2 (Oliver Korn, Jan-Marco Montag) drew with the Netherlands 2 (Jolie Wouter, Teun di Nooijer) HT 0-1.
Monday's matches: Spain v England (4.35 p.m.); Australia v Pakistan (6.35 p.m.); South Africa v India (8.35 p.m.).