Malaysia put up a tough, spirited fight but that wasn't enough to outclass Germany, who managed to carve out a hard-earned 5-3 victory in a Pool D match of the men's Hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar on Sunday.
Christopher Ruhr (14th, 18th minutes) and Timm Herzbruch (2nd, 59th) struck twice each for the title contenders from Europe while Marco Miltkau (39th) scored a field goal with an excellent finish off a fast, superbly orchestrated counter-attack.
All the Malaysian goals came from penalty corners. The veteran Razie Rahim (26th, 42nd) bagged a brace while Nabil Noor (28th) scored with a deflection afer a clever penalty corner variation. The Germans thus earned a direct entry into the quarter-finals as they topped Pool D with the full nine points from their three matches. The Malaysians crashed out of the tournament as they finished at the bottom of the group with a mere one point.
While the Germans were through to the quarterfinals, the Netherlands and Pakistan managed to qualify for the cross-overs round, in spite of losing 1-5.
The Dutch were by far the better side as they made repeated forays into their rival citadel. The Netherlands scored through Thierry Brinkman (7th minute), Valentin Verga (27th), Bob de Voogd (37th), Jorrit Croon (47th) and Mink van der Weerden (59th) en route to their comfortable win. Pakistan's lone goal came from the stick of Umar Bhutta in the ninth minute.
Pakistan played catch-up hockey and looked a disjointed unit, having no idea what to do with the ball when it's in their possession. They mostly relied on counter-attacks to surprise their higher ranked opponents but the vast gap of quality between the two sides was quiet evident on the turf. World number 4 Netherlands started on a bright note and secured their first penalty corner in the fourth minute but it was wasted.
(With agency inputs)