Jeroen Hertzberger scored a hat-trick to help last edition silver medallist Netherlands spank a hapless Malaysia 7-0 in a lopsided opening Pool D encounter at the ongoing men’s hockey World Cup here on Saturday.
Asian Games silver medallist Malaysia, coached by legendary Dutchman Roelant Oltmans, was expected to produce a fight but the world number 4 Netherlands turned out to be a much superior opponent.
Mirco Pruijser, Mink van der Weerden, Robbert Kemperman and Thierry Brinkman were the other goal scorers for the three-time champion.
The Dutch side, which is eyeing a fourth World Cup title, turned out to be too hot for Malaysia to handle as it toyed with the opposition defence and scored goals at will on a miserable night for its Asian rival.
It created chances at will and, if not for the veteran Malaysian goalkeeper Kumar Subramaniam’s heroics, the margin of defeat could have been bigger for the Asian side.
Subramaniam hardly got any help from his defenders and was forced to make numerous saves.
It was a horrendous display from the Malaysians in all departments of the game, with hardly any co-ordination between its defenders, midfielders and forwards - which helped the Dutch to snatch the ball whenever it wanted, before going for the kill.
The gap in quality between the two sides can be gauged from the fact that Netherlands had 29 shots at the goal as against Malaysia’s three.
Placed in the ‘pool of death’ because of the presence of three former champions in Netherlands, Germany and Pakistan, it could be a herculean task for a demolarised Malaysia to make a comeback in the tournament after Saturday’s heavy defeat.
Malaysia will next play Pakistan on December 5, while Netherlands will be up against Germany.
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