Hockey World Cup 2018: Miltkau's goal helps Germany scrape past Pakistan

Four-time champion Pakistan, whose World Cup 2018 participation was initially in doubt due to lack of funds, went down 0-1 to Olympic bronze medallist Germany in the Pool D match at the Kalinga stadium.

Miltkau Marco (#22) celebrates after giving Germany the lead against Pakistan.   -  Biswaranjan Rout

Germany laboured to a narrow 1-0 win over a fighting Pakistan in its opening Pool D match of the Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Saturday.

Marco Miltkau's 36th minute goal helped the world No. 6 side collect three points against 13th-ranked Pakistan, which surprised all with its admirable resistance.

Pakistan players, who had invited the crowd's ire here due to their unsportsmanlike behaviour during the 2014 Champions Trophy, must have thanked the spectators for their big hearts as they fought valiantly on the pitch to keep the German strikers quiet for first 30 minutes.

As it happened: Germany 1-0 Pakistan

Germany nearly took the lead when Christopher Ruhr's stunning shot into the circle was deflected by Benedikt Furk without any luck in the first period.

Rashid Mehmood and Tasawar Abbas' effort symbolised Pakistan's tenacity as the green shirts guarded their fort with composure.

Without being able to maneuver into the Pakistan penalty area, Germany improved its possession and attempted long shots. But Florian Fuchs and Niklas Wellen's efforts at the goal did not bear fruit.

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Germany's Timm Herzbruch and Pakistan's Umar Bhutta battle for the ball at the Kalinga Stadium.   -  FIH website

 

Germany improvised its tactics and managed to break through the solid Pakistan defence after the second quarter.

Tobias Hauke sent in a beautiful pass which was deflected to the goalmouth in a flash by Wellen and Miltkau, under pressure from goalkeeper Salman Butt and a defender, dived hard to turn it into the goal.

Pakistan almost drew parity two minutes later when Muhammad Zubair slid spectacularly in the German circle but missed.

The opening goal made the action more free flowing as Pakistan looked for the equaliser and Germany, which earned a solitary penalty corner, tried its best to double the lead.

A second goal was disallowed by the video umpire in the 54th minute as Wellen's reverse hit went into the post off Miltkau's leg.

The result: Germany 1 (Miltkau 36) bt Pakistan 0