Germany edge past fighting Pakistan

Germany's Marco Miltkau (centre) celebrate with team-mates after scoring against Pakistan. PTI

Four-time champions Pakistan produced a lion-hearted performance before going down 0-1 to Olympic bronze medallist Germany in their opening Pool D match of the men’s hockey World Cup here on Saturday.

It is a creditable result for Pakistan considering the fact that the nation did not have a great build up to the tournament.

There were doubts over Pakistan’s participation due to lack of funds and only a last minute sponsorship deal with Haier made it possible for them to make the trip.

Currently ranked world No 13, Pakistan gave a tough fight to the world No 6 Germans by holding them till the 36th minute, when Marco Miltkau netted the only goal of the match.

It was all about defending for Pakistan in the first two quarters and they did that stoutly, denying the Germans in the opening 30 minutes.

Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt came to his side’s rescue on two occasions. Notable was the first save in the third minute when he kept out Benedikt Furk’s neat deflection from a Christopher Ruhr pass.

But after the change of ends, the match opened up with both the teams going on the offensive. It was Germany who finally broke the shackles six minutes after the break when Miltkau pushed in Niklas Wellen’s deflection past an onrushing Imran Butt.

The Pakistanis then created bright chances in the last two quarters but failed to find the target.

Big win for Holland

In the earlier match, the Netherlands drubbed Malaysia 7-0. Jeroen Herzberger struck two goals on either side of a Mirco Pruijser goal as the Dutch raced into a 3-0 half time.

In the second half, Mink van der Weerden scored off a penalty corner to make it 4-0. The score was moved to 5-0 when Robbert Kemperman hit home from close range. A further two goals were scored by the Dutch side, with Thierry Brinkman firing home a glorious backhand effort before Jeroen Herzberger struck his third goal.

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