Much before the sprinklers had come on to soak the astro-turf at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium at halftime, Canada’s challenge had been washed out by Germany.
The Olympic champions, after the draw against South Korea in the opening match of the Hockey World Cup, were in an uncharitable mood and that showed in the way they plotted the moves, earned penalty corners and slammed four goals before the break.
The 6-0 score line was in fact not a fair indicator of Germany’s menacing firepower, for, seeing the futility of scoring more goals, they slowed down the pace of the game.
For Canada, returning to the big stage after 12 years, it was a moment of reckoning and it was clear they are yet to be counted among the best.
It was also a contest between the ‘oldest’ and ‘youngest’ teams. With the average age of the Canadians around 27, they are the oldest team in the World Cup, while the Germans, at 24, are the youngest.
Tactically too, the Canadians looked separated by years. Little wonder, the Germans took the lead as early as in the third minute when Benjamin Wess, after receiving a pass from Oskar Deecke in front of the goal, pushed the ball past goalkeeper Dave Carter.
Before Germany scored their second goal off the third penalty corner in the 21st minute, they missed at least two field goals and an equal number of penalty corners.
Finally in the 21st minute, Jan-Marco Montag’s drag flick did the trick and Carter watched in amazement as the ball shot past him.
Montag then set up his captain Maximilian Muller who slammed the ball high into the Canadian net, before Martin Haner converted another PC. Two more goals came in the second half through Florian Fuchs, but those were of academic interest.
This was Germany’s second-highest win in the World Cup and their biggest in 32 years since beating India 7-0 in 1978. It also marked the biggest World Cup defeat for Canada.