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Draw opens up race

india Updated: Mar 08, 2010 02:45 IST
HT Correspondent

As the clock was winding down towards the final hooter, with Germany leading 2-1 in a crucial encounter, the Netherlands captain Teun de Nooijer was banished to the sin bin for a foul. He spent two agonising minutes on the chair near the technical bench with the Germans dominating proceedings after fighting back from a goal deficit at the half-time in their HeroHonda FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup match.

De Nooijer rushed in after serving his punishment and within seconds was in the thick of action, making the most of a superb cross by Roland Brouwer to make the score 2-2 in the 65th minute. The score remained deadlocked in the remaining four minutes and after Dutch goalkeeper Guus Vogels pulled off a superb save off a penalty corner after final hooter.

The draw opened up the race for the semifinal to four teams — the Netherlands (10 pts), defending champions Germany (8), Korea (7) and New Zealand (6). Germany fought back after the Netherlands surged ahead in the 23rd minute via Wouter Jolie off a penalty corner. It was ironical that, for a land that produced some of the greatest drag flickers the game has seen, Jolie scored with a hard hit that German goalkeeper Tim Jessulat deflected into the goal. Taeke Taekema was on the bench when the Dutch earned their third penalty corner but they managed to capitalise on it.

Oliver Korn scored a fine field goal in the 44th minute and when Jan-Marco Montag slotted another field goal in the 63rd minute to make the score 2-1.

But Nooijer spoiled their party with a flash strike off a brilliant Dutch build up in a match dominated by physical and tactical play. Holland had started well and earned the first penalty corner but Taekema was thwarted by the German defenders. Germany earned two PCs a minute later but were saved by goalkeeper Guus Vogels. The Germans created chances but failed to score. After changing ends, they dominated and if not for Vogel, could have scored more goals. At the other end, the Dutch too came close a number of times but the Germans defended well.