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Netherlands begins title defence in style

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champion Netherlands began its quest for a record-breaking ninth Champions Trophy crown with a 4-0 victory over Britain on Thursday.

Germany was also in superb form, dominating Pakistan from the start and winning 5-2. In another match, Korea and Spain fought to a 2-2 draw. Australia put it past Malaysia 2-0 in the last match

The Dutch, who defeated Germany in last year’s final, also triumphed in 1981, 1982, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003. Germany and Australia are the only other countries to have eight wins to their names.

Britain had its chances to score at the National Hockey Stadium but was unable to penetrate the tight Dutch defence.

Netherlands got off to a flying start when Teun de Nooijer knocked in from a narrow angle after just two minutes.

With heavy rain falling, the temperature eased and the cooler conditions made for an exciting second half.

Netherlands began making inroads down both flanks. Ronald Brouwer kept his calm in the D to score with a reverse hit just four minutes past half-time.

The goal calmed the champion and it began to stroke the ball with confidence. Robert Reckers scored the third goal when he caught the British defence napping with another reverse hit which sailed into goal after 50 minutes.

Fifteen minutes later, Reckers scored an identical goal to seal victory. Germany, aiming to overcome its flop at the European Championships in August, was in total control from the whistle and was always the better side as it pushed Pakistan in numbers deep in defence.

The results: Netherlands 4 (Teun de Nooijer, Ronald Brouwer, Rob Reckers (2)) bt Britain 0.

Germany 5 (Oliver Korn (2), Moritz Fuerste, Florian Keller, Philip Witte) bt Pakistan 2 (Waqas Akbar, Shabbir Ahmed Khan).

Spain 2 (Eduard Arbos, Eduard Tubau) drew with Korea 2 (Jang Jong-hyun, Lee Nam-yong).

Malaysia 0 lost to Australia 2 (Russell Ford, Travis Brooks).

Friday’s matches: Pakistan vs. Spain, Netherlands vs. Malaysia, Britain vs. Germany, Australia vs. Korea. — Agencies

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