(Photo: Fieldhockey.fr)

The Netherlands earned their third win of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 against Canada (6-0). Germany and New Zealand also won, against Korea (2-1) and Argentina (4-3),  to stay within striking distance.

Game 16 – Korea v. New Zealand: 1-2
(half-time: 0-2)

Korea and New Zealand had met only once before at a World Cup, when the Kiwis won 3-1 in 1998. Unfortunately, as for the other days when neither India nor Pakistan are playing, the stands were nearly empty, creating an eerie atmosphere for a World Cup match…

New Zealand was immediately dangerous and they scored on their first penalty-corner in the 4th minute, by Andrew HAYWARD finally on target in this competition. Korea immediately forced a similar chance at the other hand but Ryan ARCHIBALD on the post deflected the ball wide. Korea then dominated for a long period, but without generating any clear goal chances, while New Zealand forced a penalty stroke on one of their rare incursions in attack when a shot by Priyesh BHANA was stopped on the line by the foot of a retreating defender. Dean COUZINS, Captain of the Kiwis for the day, made no mistake to increase their lead to 2-0.

Korea had a series of penalty-corners at the start of second period but could not trouble Kyle PONTIFEX in the New Zealand goal. The Kiwis had a narrow escape when a ball eluded their goal-keeper and rolled slowly on the goal line but no Korean player was around to tap it in. Korea’s penalty-corner units were clearly on a bad day and were unsuccessful on five attempts. One of them was countered by runner Shea MCALEESE who then proceeded to dash the whole length of the pitch and deliver a perfect cross for Blair HILTON who shot high in the stands.  

Kyle PONTIFEX had another strong performance in goal and managed to keep the Koreans at bay until a penalty-stroke was whistled in the final minute of play. Nam Yong LEE scored it, but it was too little too late and the Kiwis earned their second win of the competition.

Match Facts (Korea v. New Zealand):

> New Zealand won 2-1 to collect their second straight WC win over Korea, following their 3-1 victory in 1998.
> The Kiwis (6 points) have now overtaken Korea in the Pool B Standings (4 points).
> This match saw two PS goals. The last WC match to see 2 PS goals was ENG-GER 1-2 in 2006, which saw Simon Mantell (ENG) and Christopher Zeller (GER) score PS goals.
> Dean Couzins (NZL) and Lee Nam Yong (KOR) scored only the second and third PS goal at Delhi 2010. The first PS goal was scored by Australia’s Jamie Dwyer, who has also missed a PS this tournament.
> NZL might be heading for their best WC finish. Their best finish in the competition so far is seventh place, which they achieved in Amstelveen 1973, Kuala Lumpur 1975 and Bombay 1982.

Game 17 – Netherlands v. Canada: 6-0
(half-time: 0-0)

The second match of the day seemed like a David vs. Goliath contest. Canada had lost veteran Ranjeev DEOL with a nasty hand injury in practice and were lining up three World Cup rookies (Matthew PECK in goal, Taylor CURRAN and Jesse WATSON). To their credit, they seemed in a better frame of mind than against Germany and the first scoring chance was for them when Philip WRIGHT received the ball completely alone in the Dutch circle, but could not control it.

The Netherlands progressively increased the pressure and Matt PECK in the Canadian goal was kept busy. He stood his ground well on a one-on-one with Valentin VERGA, pushing him aside then getting up fast enough to deflect the shot from the rebound. Canada scrambled a penalty-corner chance and Matt PECK stopped the first attempt by Taeke TAEKEMA on a similar set piece at the other end. The Canadians defended well a second Dutch penalty-corner, were saved by the post on the third one and successfully appealed what could have been the first goal for The Netherlands.

Permanently harangued by Rob SHORT, Canada were certainly offering a completely different face than in their poor show against Germany, playing a composed and organized defense and progressing up field by quick counter-attacks. The Netherlands never managed to take control of play in first period and were imprecise on a number of shooting chances, so half-time was reached without any goal.

The Dutch immediately pressed forward in second period and the Canadian were pushed back on their heels. Taeke TAEKEMA finally opened the scoring on a penalty-corner in the 41st minute. After Canada nearly equalized on a scramble in front of Guus VOGELS, Ronald BROUWER soon increased the lead with an easy tap-in on a pass from Teun DE NOOIJER attracting three defenders. Rogier HOFMAN added a third goal after picking up the rebound from another shot by Teun DE NOOIJER and things started to look bleak for the Canadians.

With their defense stretched, the Canadians could not prevent additional goals by Rob RECKERS, Rogier HOFMAN then Taeke TAEKEMA, and The Netherlands cruised to their third victory of the competition to top pool A.

Match Facts (Netherlands v. Canada):

> Netherlands join England as the only teams to have won all three of their matches at Delhi 2010.
> The Netherlands have now won 4 successive World Cup matches (2006-2010). This equals their second longest winning streak in the competition. Holland’s record for most consecutive WC wins is 6 and was set in1998-2002.
> The Netherland scored 6 goals in the second half today. The last time they managed this in a World Cup match was on 24 November 1994 against Belgium 8-1 (HT 2-1).
> Taekema scored twice to lift his WC total to 19 goals. This takes him into third place on the all-time World Cup top scorer list, overtaking Wolfgang Strödter’s (GER) total of 18 goals.
> Only Paul Litjens (NED, 26) and Ties Kruize (NED, 21) have scored more WC goals.
> Taekema has now scored in each of The Netherlands’ last seven World Cup matches (2006-2010).
> He is the first player to do so since Australia’s Jay Stacey (1994-1998).
> Rogier Hofman became the first Dutch player since Teun de Nooijer in 1998 (vs NZL) to score 2 field goals in a World Cup match.
> Canada are yet to collect their first points at Delhi 2010, having lost all three of their games as did South Africa in Pool B. Argentina can join them if they lose to Germany later tonight.

Game 18 – Germany v. Argentina: 4-3
(half-time: 3-2)

The last game of the day started in front of empty stands, a sad situation and even more so because spectators would have been well entertained by the excellent match offered by the reigning World Champions Germany and Argentina.

Germany opened the scoring in the 5th minute by Martin ZWICKER slamming in goal the rebound of a Matthias WITTHAUS’ shot, but Argentina had equalized within a minute with a crafty reverse stick shot by Lucas Martin VILA over sliding German goalkeeper Tim JESSULAT. Germany regained the lead by Martin ZWICKER diving at the second post to deflect a pass and Matthias WITTHAUS added a sumptuous goal, collecting the ball at the top of the circle, turning to eliminate two defenders and shooting out of reach of Juan Tomas ESPINOSA in the Argentinean goal. For the record, this was the hundredth goal of this high-scoring competition

The game continued at high pace, the two teams offering a pleasant display of open hockey. Argentina added a goal just before the break by Matias Enrique PAREDES, pouncing on the rebound of a Pedro IBARRA’s penalty-corner. With only one goal difference between the two teams at half-time, it was everybody’s game.

The second half started with a long midfield battle with few scoring chances, until a penalty-corner in the 51st minute scored by Martin HÄNER at the conclusion of an elaborate combination perfectly executed. Argentina replied immediately by a penalty-corner scored by Pedro IBARRA. Back within one goal, the South Americans pushed desperately to equalize and created some hot situations in the German circle; Tim JESSULAT in goal had to intervene multiple times to protect his goal.

After a confusing sequence when both Maximilian MÜLLER and Pedro IBARRA were shown yellow cards, the last ten minutes of play were intense. Lucas Rafael ROSSI had a chance to equalize from the top of the circle but mishandled the shot. The end of the game was all Argentina, but they could not score again and Germany were obviously relieved to hear the final horn to secure the three points of the win, while Argentina felt hard done with their third loss of the competition.

The Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 continues on Saturday in Delhi when Australia face Spain, South Africa meet Pakistan and England conclude the day against host India.

For additional information, pictures, video clips, official game sheets, and more, please check the special FIH event site @ http://www.worldhockey.org/worldcup/.

Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 (men) – Delhi, India
Results Day 6 - Friday 5 March 2010

Korea v. New Zealand  1:2 (0:2)
NZL   4mn  Andrew HAYWARD (PC)  0:1
NZL  22mn  Dean COUZINS (PS)  0:2
KOR  70mn  Nam Yong LEE (PS)  1:2

Netherlands v. Canada  6:0 (0:0)
NED  41mn  Taeke TAEKEMA (PC)  1:0
NED  43mn  Ronald BROUWER (FG)  2:0
NED  48mn  Rogier HOFMAN (FG)  3:0
NED  53mn  Rob RECKERS (FG)  4:0
NED  56mn  Rogier HOFMAN (FG)  5:0
NED  63mn  Taeke TAEKEMA (PC)  6:0

Germany v. Argentina  4:3 (3:2)
GER   5mn  Martin ZWICKER (FG)  1:0
ARG   6mn  Lucas Martin VILA (FG)  1:1
GER  14mn  Martin ZWICKER (PC)  2:1
GER  23mn  Matthias WITTHAUS (FG)  3:1
ARG  34mn  Matias Enrique PAREDES (PC)  3:2
GER  51mn  Martin HÄNER (PC)  4:2
ARG  55mn Pedro IBARRA (PC)  4:3

Pool Standings:
Pool A: 1) Netherlands 9 pts  2) Germany 7 pts  3) New Zealand 6 pts  4) Korea 4pts  5) Argentina 0 pt (-5)  6)  Canada 0 pt (-13)
Pool B: 1) England 9 pts  2) Australia 6 pts (+14)  3) Spain 6 pts (+4)  4) India 3 pts (-3)  5) Pakistan 3 pts (-5) 6) South Africa 0 pt