Germany confirm top spot with lively Malaysia tie as Dutch go through in second

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

Germany confirmed their place at the head of Pool D with a lively 5-3 win over Malaysia while the Netherlands go through to the crossovers games thanks to a 5-1 success against Pakistan.

The Germans looked to be topping the group at a canter when Uhlenhorst Mulheim’s Timm Herzbruch found the roof of the net from a penalty corner in the opening minute before Rot-Weiss Koln’s Christopher Rühr crashed an unstoppable backhand effort into the top left corner just before the end of the quarter.

Rühr played a decisive role in Germany’s third goal, surging into the circle before seeing his cross-shot touched home by club mate Marco Miltkau.
At 3-0, things were looking bleak for Malaysia, who desperately needed at least a draw if they were to have a realistic chance of reaching the knock-out phase.

Remarkably, they dragged themselves back into the game with two goals just before half time. Razie Rahim scored the first before setting up the second, finding the goal with a penalty corner before providing the perfect assist for the diving Nabil Noor from another penalty corner situation.

The two sides traded goals in the third quarter, with Miltkau once again showing his incredible reflexes to touch home another cross to make it 4-2 before Razie netted another to keep Malaysia within touching distance at 4-3.

The effort was charged down, with Germany going straight down the other end to kill the game at 5-3 thanks to Herzbruch’s second goal of the day to all but end Malaysia’s hopes of remaining in the competition.

“We are happy that we could win against Malaysia”, said Germany’s Tobias Hauke, who today made his 300th international appearance for Die Honamas, after the game.

“It was a tough game. We started really well with 3-0 up in the beginning of the second quarter, but then we got a little bit in trouble. But I think Malaysia played quite nice today, they had good counter-attacks and good penalty-corners.

“We knew it before but we were not so concentrated in the third quarter in the defence. We’re really happy to be now through to the quarter-finals. That was our aim today. Finishing at the top of the pool is good for the self-confidence and for the rhythm.”

Pakistan knew that by avoiding a heavy defeat against the Netherlands they would be certain of a place in the knock-out phase of the competition. A win would be enough to move ahead of the Dutch into second place in the pool and a possibly easier task against Canada rather than Belgium.

Thierry Brinkman netted from close range just seven minutes in but two minutes later, Pakistan’s Umar Bhutta restored parity from a second phase penalty corner situation.

The Dutch, though, built a 2-1 half-time lead via Seve van Ass before Jeroen Hertzberger, Jorrit Croon and Mink van der Weerden scored second half goals.

Speaking after the match, SV Kampong’s Robbert Kemperman said: “We played a very solid game. In the first two quarters Pakistan defended really well. It was difficult to find the gaps but we kept the pace high. I think we can be happy after this match.”

On Monday, the knock-out games begin with New Zealand facing England while France take on China.