Image Courtesy: @TheHockeyIndia
Riding on the back of Dutch striker Jeroen Hertzberger's hat-trick, last edition's silver medallist Netherlands registered a 7-0 victory over Malaysia in their opening Pool D match of the ongoing 14th edition of the Men's Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday.
While Hertzberger recorded three goals (11th, 29th and 60th minutes), Mirco Pruijser (21st), Mink van der Weerden (35th), Robbert Kemperman (42nd) and Thierry Brinkman (57th) scored one each.
As the match started, the Netherlands tried an early attack, however, the Asian Games silver medallist Malaysian side got the ball right away and denied the Dutch. In the 11th minute, Hertzberger took off with the team goal, while Pruijser in the 21st minute doubled the lead for his side.
Hertzberger in the 29th minute again stroked a beautiful goal before putting a lead of three well-worked goals.
Though the Dutch missed a few penalty corner chances, with hardly any coordination between the defenders, midfielders and forwards of the Malaysian side, the Dutch snatched the ball whenever they wanted. Mink van der Weerden's goal in the 35th minute was impossible to stop in spite of the opposition's goalkeeper Kumar Subramiam's heroics.
Kemperman, who was playing his 200th international, also joined the party in the 42nd minute just before the end of the third quarter to score his side's fifth goal.
As the game progressed into the fourth quarter, the Malaysians looked slightly better, however, the Dutch scored two more goals. In the 57th-minute penalty corner, Brinkman scored the sixth goal which was followed by Hertzberger's third goal in the 60th minute. Running from half the pitch to single-handedly tackle two defenders and the Malaysian goalkeeper, Hertzberger scored a reverse flick goal for his hat-trick.
The Dutch, who are eyeing a fourth World Cup title, will meet Germany, while Malaysia will clash with Pakistan in their Pool D respective encounter on December 5.