Riding on skipper Thiery Brinkman’s brace, 3-time champions Netherlands outplayed New Zealand 4-0 for their second successive win and virtually assured themselves a direct quarter-final berth from Pool C of the Hockey World Cup at the Birsa Munda Stadium, here on Monday.
In the first match of the day, Malaysia huffed and puffed before putting it across debutant Chile 3-2.
This was the second victory for the Netherlands with an identical margin, they had beaten Malaysia 4-0 in the opener. They will play Chile in their last pool league match.
The Dutchmen dominated the game and should have won by a bigger margin but for the poor marksmanship by their strikers. The former champions were in the lead in the second minute, when Brinkman latched on to a pass from Tjep Hoedemakers surprising the defenders and the goals.
A couple of minutes later, the New Zealand manager made a surprising change as he withdrew the goalkeeper and replaced him with a forward. The Dutchmen made full use of this “shocking “change. And in the 12th minute, Brinkman again scored after intercepting a cross from Van Heijningen and sweeping the ball into the unguarded goal.
Four minutes into the second quarter, Bijen Koen made it 3-0 as the Dutchmen virtually controlled the midfield. However, they could not increase the tally as the New Zealand coach brought back the goalkeeper in the game who brought off some saves.
There was no goal in the third quarter though the Kiwis tried hard to score. Sam Lane and Simon Child made a few incisive moves but could not penetrate the solid Dutch defence and in the last quarter, Tjep Hoedemakers scored the fourth goal to seal the match in the Netherlands’ favour.
Earlier, Malaysia survived a big upset and humiliation as they came from behind to beat Chile 3-2 to stay alive in the tournament.
Both the teams had lost their opener Malaysia to the Netherlands (0-4) and Chile to New Zealand (1-3), so this match was crucial for them and the Asian team just managed to scrape through.
Malaysia was expected to have it easy against Chile but the debutants surprised their experienced rivals with a spirited display while taking the lead twice. They, however, failed to hold on to the advantage and went down fighting.
Malaysia had a couple of good chances to surge ahead in the first quarter but once Fahim Ansari missed the goal by inches and then, goalkeeper Adrian Henriquez and defender Vicente Goni foiled the attack.
Four minutes into the second quarter, Chile rattled the Malaysian by taking a lead Juan Amoroso converted a penalty corner (1-0).
Stunned by the goal, the Malaysians went all out on the offensive putting pressure on the rival defence and that earned them a stroke in the 25th minute and Razi Rahim made no mistake in converting it (1-1).
Chile took the lead again through Martin Rodriguez (2-1) and despite repeated Malaysian attacks held on to it till the end of the second quarter.
The Malaysians managed to equalize in the third quarter through Ashran Hamsani (2-2). A few minutes later, Norsyafiq Sumantri cut through the defence and beat the on-rushing goalkeeper to slot the ball home (3-2).
After taking the lead, the Malaysians crowded their defence and managed to hold on to it till the end as Chile desperately tried to equalize but failed.
Malaysia, with this win now, has 3 points and will face New Zealand in their last pool league match. But they were almost assured of the crossover match.