Netherlands vs. Canada: 7-0 (half-time: 4-0)
Netherlands were playing to consolidate their position at the top of Pool C and immediately showed that they meant business, calling Canadian goalkeeper Kevin Pereira into action and hitting the post in the first minute of play! Pereira was kept busy but once again showed his fine form.
The Netherlands opened their tally on a penalty-stroke in the 10th minute after a messy scramble in the Canadian goalmouth. The Dutch players were displaying their usual skills at speed but the Canadian defense maintained its compact structure and kept the Oranje forwards at bay until the 20th minute mark, when Rik Van Kan and Milan Van Baal scored two goals in quick succession.
The Netherlands were clearly dominating the proceedings. Kevin Pereira had to make several key saves but could not do much when three Dutch players arrived in front of him in the final minute of the period for a fourth goal by captain Roel Bovendeert.
Milan Van Baal scored the fifth Dutch goal in the 47th minute after a long run by Nicholas Leijs and a quick exchange of passes that mesmerized the Canadian defense. The Netherlands added a penalty-corner in the 57th minute by Tristan Algera and, despite the foregone conclusion, did not show any sign of slowing down, pressuring the tiring and dispirited Canadians until the end.
The Netherlands finished undefeated in Pool C and will meet New Zealand in quarter-final, while Canada will play Spain in the bottom draw.
For more information and pictures of NED vs. CAN, click here.
India vs. Korea: 3-3 (half-time: 2-1)
The last match of pool play between India and Korea was eagerly expected by the Indian fans and media. The local team absolutely needed to win to qualify for the quarter-finals, when a loss or even a draw would push Korea through.
India was immediately on the attack and forced a penalty-corner in the 3rd minute, but Lee Seyoung easily saved the low drag flick. Korea were equally unsuccessful on their first penalty-corner when You Seungju crashed his powerful drag-flick on the crossbar. The match was launched on a high tempo and the crowd was in for a thriller!
Korea had another penalty-corner opportunity but You Seungju was again a tad too high. He however managed to make the necessary adjustment and was on target in the 16th minute, silencing the crowd with a flick over the head of Sushant Tirkey in the Indian goal.
Atmosphere was hot in the stands and on the pitch and Korea picked up two yellow cards in the battle. They did not seem bothered by the situation and even created a good scoring chance while playing short two men. India saw many of their passes going astray and wasted another corner chance before Gurjinder Singh was finally on target on yet another penalty-corner three minutes from time.
India forced another penalty-corner literally in the last second of the period, and Gurjinder Singh sent the crowd into raptures with his second strike of the night to give his team a one-goal lead and a glimpse of a possible qualification for the quarter-finals going into the break.
With Korea back at full strength, play was intense and exciting. India earned another penalty-corner on a video-referral but Gurjinder Singh changed his option and propelled the ball wide. The crowd did not need to wait too long as Mandeep Singh scored in the 45th minute, this time from the field.
The Indian players were now on a roll and Korea had trouble keeping their head above water. Lee Seyoung in the Korean goal was peppered left and right but the Indians did not manage to deepen the gap, leaving the door opened for a Korean come-back. It happened in the 58th and 60th minute, with two more penalty-corners by You Seungju for a hat-trick that suddenly reversed the dynamic of the match.
Now obliged to score, India depleted their defense and Korea had an open-net chance but Ji Woocheon incredibly missed his deflection. The end of match was torrid for the Korean defense but they survived the final rush and were soon dancing to celebrate their qualification for the quarter-finals, while the Indian players were dejected, rueing their missed opportunities early in the second period.
For more information and pictures of IND vs. KOR, click here.
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