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Netherlands and Australia emerged as the bright spots on a dull and rainy day at the Samsung Hockey Champions Trophy in Canberra.
Both teams are undefeated after contrasting victories on day two to give them a handy advantage before the third round on Tuesday night.
The Dutch were irresistible in an 8-1 demolition of Germany, taking advantage of poor opposition defence to notch their highest score in this event and inflict the Germans’s heaviest defeat in nine Champions Trophy tournaments.
The result also equalled the highest scoring Champions Trophy match in history, mirroring Australia’s 8-1 defeat of Spain in 1993.
The Dutch were dominant throughout the clash and stamped their favouritism on the tournament with two goals in the opening four minutes. The second half of the match was a scoring exhibition, with Saskia Fuchs guiding two expertly taken deflections past the German goalkeeper in a blitz that yielded six goals.
Germany and Netherlands have competed in the final of the last three major tournaments they have contested – 2004 Olympic Games, 2004 Champions Trophy and 2005 European Nations Cup – but today the Netherlands demonstrated the clear superiority.
While Australia also remain undefeated, they were forced to grind out a victory against Korea, their second two-goal win in succession; a second half penalty corner goal from Karen Smith and a good individual effort from Nikki Hudson enough to give them maximum points.
Australia goalkeeper Rachel Imison was chiefly responsible for keeping her team in the match with a number of fine saves after Korea threatened to break down the Hockeyroos defence.
Argentina got their campaign on track with a good performance against China. After battling their way back into the match against Netherlands yesterday only to a conceding a goal after the siren to lose, Argentina regrouped quickly against China in the opening match of the day, taking control from the start of the match.
An early goal gave them reward for their efforts before two late in the second half provided an accurate reflection of the action.
After two rounds, Netherlands lead the competition on goal difference from Australia, with Argentina and China both on three points. Germany and Korea are winless after two matches and must get a positive result on Tuesday to have any chance of a finals berth.
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