Germany asserts its power to smother hapless Canada; Netherlands beats New Zealand
New Delhi: Korea snatched a dramatic 2-1 win when only 54 seconds were left for the hooter. A penalty corner was obtained from a verdict delivered by the video umpire and Woo Hyun Nam sent in a scorcher of a carpet drive into the goal signalling the team's first win in two matches in a Pool A encounter.
The victory for the Asian champion could not have come at a more appropriate moment. The team had shared four goals in the opening game against Germany and a reverse on Wednesday could have impacted its chances of making it to the last four.
It was a tight match with exchanges well-controlled. Argentina used the height advantage while Korea leaned heavily on the speed of its players' movements and accurate passes. If Lucas Vila looked the most dangerous Argentina player on view, it was skipper Jong Ho Seo who inspired the Koreans by making several threatening moves.
Neither side could manage to hit the target in the first half. Lucas Vila barged in twice but his marksmanship was poor.
Midway through the second half, Argentina gained the lead when Almada paved the way in a scrimmage and Facundo Callioni netted.
Only 16 minutes remained on the clock and the Koreans understood the desperate situation they were in. Sik Hyo You prompted a surging attack from Ho Seo that culminated in Nam Yong Woo delivering the equaliser.
A draw was on the cards but the Koreans were not prepared for that verdict. Forcing the pace, they came as an attacking wave. Umpire Christian Blasch awarded a free hit but the Koreans preferred a referral and won it. Then everything turned to ecstasy for the Koreans, who have now four points too with Germany.
Earlier, Germany asserted its power and strength to outsmart Canada 6-0, after leading 4-0 at half-time.
Taking a more realistic view of the proceedings, it can be assumed that the Germans are yet to come to terms with the conditions or even the new pitch.
This became clear going by the promptings of coach Marcus Weise and his instructions in a stentorian voice to the players to increase the tempo. However, his reactions to some of the decisions by the Australian umpire Gentles did not go well with many.
Germany's domination stood pronounced in penalty corners and their variations. At least three of the goals surfaced from set pieces.
The opening goal in the early minutes, resulting from a brilliant bout of passing between Benjamin Wess and Osken Deeck was striking.
Florian Fuchs lived up to his reputation as the best striker in the squad with a brace in the second half.
His second surfaced from a superbly executed backhander which gave no chance whatsoever for the Canadian defenders.
With the Germans holding such a firm grip throughout, the chances for Canada were few and far between. This first penalty corner for Canada emerged only in the last minute of the tie. Germany has four points from two matches while Canada is yet to open its account.
The outcome was important statistically too. Germany extended its unbeaten streak to 15, the same as enjoyed by Pakistan between 1978 and 1982. The record stands at 18 against Australia from 1978-1990.
Netherlands scores win
In the final match of the day, the Netherlands beat New Zealand 3-1.
Phil Burrows gave the Kiwis a flying start less than a minute from the push off. But that joy proved evanescent as the Dutchmen roared back. Not only did they draw level but scored twice more in the first half.
The fightback was led by veteran striker Ronald Brouwer, who restored parity. Then Taeke Taekema pumped in his trademark penalty corner to the roof and before half-time Joeren Hertzberger widened the margin. Taekema equalled Bovelander's tally of 17 goals in the World Cup. Paul Litjens owns the record at 26.
Netherlands' second successive win — it beat Argentina 3-0 in the opening match — gives it six points in Pool A.
The results: Pool A: Germany 6 (Benjamin Wess, Jan Marco Montag, Max Muller, Martin Haner, Florian Fuchs 2) bt Canada 0. HT 4-0.
Korea 2 (Woo Hyun Nam 2) bt Argentina 1 (Facundo Callioni). HT 0-0.
Netherlands 3 (Ronald Brouwer, Taeke Taekema, Joeren Hertzburger) bt New Zealand 1 (Phil Burrows). HT 3-1.
Thursday's matches: Australia vs. South Africa (4.35 p.m.), England vs. Pakistan (6.35 p.m.), India vs. Spain (8.35 p.m.) .