Dutchmen in semis despite the defeat

S Korean dreams dashed; Germany enter last four

Dutchmen in semis despite the defeat

*Germany:  5       N Zealand:     2

*S Korea:    2       Netherlands:  1

*Argentina: 3       Canada:          2

Unbridled joy: Germany’s Christoph Menke (right) celebrates with team-mate Florian Fuchs after scoring a goal against New Zealand on Tuesday. AFP

The Netherlands had lost five of their last six meetings to Korea in major tournaments and on Tuesday, they suffered another reverse, going down 1-2 in their final Pool A encounter. Both Korea and the Netherlands finished level with ten points but the Dutchmen’s better goal difference of plus-10, compared to Korea’s plus-eight, took them to the last-four phase as the second team in the pool. Korea’s exit also meant there won’t be an Asian country in the semifinals.

Germany defeated New Zealand 5-2 earlier in the day to finish with 11 points. The Dutch defeat meant Germany ended as pool toppers, setting up a semifinal clash with England, the runners-up of Pool B. The Netherlands will play Pool B winners Australia. Both the semifinals are scheduled for Thursday.

The Netherlands seemed determined to improve upon their record when they struck within seconds of the start. Off a right-wing move, Dutch captain Teun de Nooijer set up Ronald Brouwer who was bang on target.

The Koreans toiled and toiled before drawing level in the 31st minute with Nam Hyn Woo beating Guus Vogels off their first penalty corner. The Korean pace was proving irksome for the Dutch and a quick counter caught them napping in the 45th minute, as Seo Jong Ho struck his team’s second goal off a move engineered by Yoon Sung Hoon.

The Netherlands created quite a few chances after that but missed them all. Jan-Geert Derikx’s was the most glaring of lapses as he had an open goal in front, in the 65th minute. The Dutchmen had only one penalty corner in the entire match, that too in the final minute but the ball wasn’t stopped, preventing Taeke Taekema from taking a crack. The lapses didn’t prove costly though, with the Koreans unable to reach their target of a victory by a two-goal margin.

Germans through
Germany had to overcome a mid-match lapse in focus to wallop New Zealand. The defending champions led 3-0 at one point but allowed the Black Sticks to come back into the match with two quick goals. Ultimately, the 5-2 scoreline clearly revealed the gulf between the teams.

Deflections and set pieces were the keys to the German win. Christoph Menke deflected in a Florian Fuchs hit in the 15th minute for the first German goal while Fuchs himself pounced on a rebound off their first penalty corner to slot home the second in the 28th minute. Twelve minutes into the second session, Philip Witte surfaced in the striking circle to guide home a Jan Phillip Rabente hit and the Germans were sitting pretty on a three-goal cushion.

The champions were then jolted out of their comfort zone, with the Kiwis striking two goals in the space of four minutes through Shea McAleese (51st) and Nicholas Wilson (54th). Moritz Furste (63rd) and Matthias Witthaus (64th) then produced goals off short corners for Germany, making sure that there were no alarms for the defending champions.

Argentina vs India
Argentina defeated Canada 4-2 to finish fourth in Pool A and set up a Friday clash with India for the seventh place. Martin Lucas Vila (29th), Enrique Paredes (42nd), Nicolas Almada (56th) and Tomas Argento (70th) scored the Argentine goals. Scott Tupper (60th) and David Jameson (65th) scored for Canada.
Wednesday is a rest day.

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