Pool ‘A’ wide open as the Netherlands face Korea | india | Hindustan Times
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Pool ‘A’ wide open as the Netherlands face Korea

For the first time in a hockey World Cup, as far as my knowledge goes, one has had to wait till the last league matches of a pool to identify the toppers and qualifiers. Dhanraj Pillai comments.

india Updated: Mar 08, 2010 23:25 IST

For the first time in a hockey World Cup, as far as my knowledge goes, one has had to wait till the last league matches of a pool to identify the toppers and qualifiers.

Though the Netherlands go into their last league encounter with the points and goal advantage of two and four, respectively, over Germany, the latter face a relatively easier final match against New Zealand. The Dutch, meanwhile, will be facing a tricky South Korea. Also, playing on the Dutchmen’s minds will be the recent loss to South Korea in the Champions Trophy.

To their credit the Koreans have a draw against the mighty Germans and wins over Argentina and Canada, and if not for the listless show against the Kiwis, which saw them go down 1-2, the equation would have been quite different. However, this match could throw up a surprise.

Of course, before taking the field, Korea and Holland will know exactly what is required of them following the result of the match between Germany and New Zealand.

The Kiwis went down to Argentina in their last match and they just don't have the strength to upset the German applecart, who have struck a fine rhythm and, in my opinion were unlucky not to emerge winners over the Netherlands in their last encounter, which finished 2-2. Holland began their game in a familiar attacking fashion and went ahead through a penalty corner converted by Walter Joulie with a powerful, crisp hit which is very rare in Dutch hockey. It was a goal executed with a touch of class.

The Germans, known for their strong strategic play changed their game plan in the 2nd half, moving the game from the left side of the field to the right. This change in gameplan has to be done in a very precise manner or the team ends up committing a barrage of tactical errors.

But the German team did this to perfection and the waves of attacks got them the much-needed equaliser from the right side move. After that the Germans dominated the game and got the second goal through a similar move from the right side, both deflection goals. Holland also played well in patches in the second half and they pushed two extra

attackers upfront to get the equaliser, which they got in the 65th minute from their opportunist captain Teun de Nooijer. Holland were lucky to get this result and the two points.