Germany’s workmanlike approach helped it withstand immense pressure and rally to beat Netherlands 4-1 in a high-profile Pool D contest between European heavyweights in the Hockey World Cup 2018 at the Kalinga Stadium here on Wednesday.
The Stefan Kermas-coached side’s second win enabled it to reach top of the table with six points and brighten its chances for direct qualification to the last eight.
Pakistan and Malaysia shared the spoils following a 1-1 draw in the other Pool D match.
Riding on its 7-0 win over Malaysia, the spirited Dutch force stepped on the gas and tested the Germans early with some dangerous moves and tough tackles.
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Netherlands took the lead when Valentin Verga’s attempt in the 13th minute from close range went into the goal from a German stick.
Boosted by its midfield, the Dutch forwardline remained active. Captain Billy Bakker unleashed two powerful shots into the German circle but could not find support.
Germany defended its post well and tried to make the most counter-attacks, including one off which Niklas Wellen’s shot hit the side board.
Germans earned two consecutive short corners at the stroke of half-time. Mathias Muller converted the second with beautiful variation, executed through clockwork precision.
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Netherlands maintained the tempo to fetch four penalty corners in the third quarter, but Martin Haner-led Germans defended with rock-solid determination.
Germany looked positive in the final period and built up some attacks to put pressure on Netherlands. It worked well as Germany scored thrice in the last eight minutes.
Lukas Windfeder’s low drag-flick from a penalty corner changed the narrative, Marco Miltkau’s push took a Dutch stick to consolidate the lead and Christopher Ruhr’s penalty stroke conversion completed the tally.