The Hague: Olympic champions Germany Sunday kickstarted their campaign to reclaim the Hockey World Cup title with a 4-0 drubbing of South Africa at the Kyocera Stadium here.
Germany, beaten by Australia in the final in 2010 in New Delhi, were the winners of successive World Cup titles in 2002 and 2006.
South Africa kept the German strikers at bay until they conceded a penalty stroke in the 27th minute that was converted by Christopher Zeller. Thilo Stralkowski increased the lead just seconds before half-time with a strike in the open play.
The South African goal fell twice in the space of four minutes in the second session with Mats Grambusch (56th minute) and Oliver Korn (59th) firing on target to launch the German campaign with pull points in the first Group B outing.
Host and 2012 Olympic silver medalists The Netherlands were made to work hard for their 3-1 victory over Pan-American champions Argentina.
Opening the scoring for three-time World Cup champions The Netherlands with a deflection into the boards in the 26th minute was Argentina-born Velentin Verga, whose father Alex was a Argentine player and migrated to Europe to play for a Dutch club.
Verga's two cousins are attached to the Argentine team as physiotherapists and an uncle is the team doctor. He had declared that he would not make a public celebration if he scored a goal against Argentina, and just slightly punched his hand in the air when the goal happened.
Argentina benefitted from a penalty corner gifted to them by a Dutch error to equalise through Gonzalo Peillat's low flick to the left of the Dutch goalkeeper, coming out of the first session at 1-1 level.
The Dutch strikers went all out in the second session and got goals through Mink van der Weerden's rasping penalty corner flick into the net in the 40th minute and an opportunistic strike by Rogier Hofman from top of the circle in the 50th minute.