|March 1st, 2010|
|04||Pool A||4:30pm||NZL - CAN||3 - 2 (1 - 2)||Final|
The last time New Zealand and Canada met in a World Cup was in 1998 in Utrecht; it ended in a tie (3-3) with current Canadian Coach Alan Brahmst scoring a penalty-corner for his team. Two current Canadian players, Ken PEREIRA and Rob SHORT, were already playing back then and were honoured before the start of today’s game for their 300th International Cap.
The game could not start better for Canada, with Mark PEARSON taking advantage of confusion in the circle to slot the ball past Kyle PONTIFEX in the New Zealand’s goal within one minute of play! This gave the Canucks confidence and they dictated the tempo for a while, but the Kiwis exploited well a stolen ball in midfield for a quick counter-attack that created havoc in the Canadian circle, with Priyesh BHANA (the late replacement for star striker Simon CHILD) well positioned to push the ball in goal past a stranded Dave CARTER.
The game became balanced between two teams with similar styles. Mark PEARSON had a good chance but his strong low shot was easily handled by Kyle PONTIFEX, while at the other end Scott TUPPER was keeping Phillip BURROWS under a close watch. Canada went up again in the 20th minute by Philip WRIGHT, laying on the ground but managing to pick up his own rebound from a close range deflection.
The two teams were neutralizing each other, with Ryan ARCHIBALD and Phillip BURROWS on one side, Rob SHORT and Ken PEREIRA on the other, running the midfield. Canada survived a green card to Dave JAMESON in the final minute of the period to reach the break with the advantage.
New Zealand started to increase the pressure early in second period and the Canadian back defense was in hot water in a few occasions, but they managed to keep at bay a Kiwi team playing tentatively. The first penalty-corner of the game was awarded in the 47th minute and Nicholas HAIG powered the ball in goal after a quick combination to bring New Zealand level for the second time of the match.
With twenty minutes to go, the Canadians started to lose some of their initial poise, and Ryan ARCHIBALD was prompt to exploit the situation to bring back the danger in front of Dave CARTER. The game became more open, with counter-attacks on both sides going the full length of the pitch. The Canadian survived a second penalty-corner, thanks to a superb save by Dave CARTER, and immediately earned one of their own after a DEOL-PEARSON counter-attack, saved equally well by Kyle PONTIFEX.
New Zealand grabbed the lead for the first time with less three minutes to go by Ryan ARCHIBALD, slamming the ball into the Canadian goal from close range. A late challenge by Canada was unsuccessful and New Zealand finished with the three points a match that could have gone either way.
Match Facts (New Zealand v. Canada):
> New Zealand won 3-2 to extend their World Cup unbeaten run against Canada to three matches.
> Today’s victory ended New Zealand’s 4-match losing streak in WC competition.
> Ryan Archibald (NZL) 67th minute winner marked the third WC goal in his career. He has now scored in three successive World Cup tournaments.
> Archibald has now equalled the New Zealand record for scoring in most World Cup editions, held by Arthur Parkin and Ramesh Patel, who both scored in 1973, 1975 and 1982.
> Priyesh Bhana, Nick Haig (NZL), Mark Pearson (CAN) and Philip Wright (CAN) all scored on their World Cup debut.