Germany need to pull up their socks (Preview)

March 2nd, 2010 - 5:41 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 2 (IANS) Defending champions Germany need to tone up their game when they face Canada in their second Pool A match of the Hockey World Cup here Wednesday.
In the other fourth day matches Wednesday in the same pool, Argentina play Korea while New Zealand take on the Netherlands at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Germany, eyeing a hat-trick of World Cup titles, were held 2-2 by Korea in their opening match Monday.

The relatively inexperienced Germans were down 0-2 at the break, but rallied back in the second session by building up intense pressure with a series of well-coordinated moves.

German captain Maximillan Muller said he is happy with the way the team bounced back in the second half against the Asian champions.

“We didn’t play well in the first half but we fought back in the second half. We wasted several penalty corners and that is a matter of concern for us,” said Muller.

Muller is happy that his promising teenage striker Florian Fuchs found his touch in the opening match as the team has only three players from the previous edition.

The German forwards will be tested against Canada which put up a fighting performance in their match against New Zealand. The Canadians defended solidly and their raids on the rival citadel were also well synchronised.

Three-time champions and strong title contenders the Netherlands will be high on confidence after their rousing 3-0 victory in their lung opener against Argentina.

In fact, the Dutch were the only side among the three pre-tournament favourites to have made a good beginning to their campaign. Australia were shocked by England in the first match while the German young guns barely managed to escape with the a draw against Korea.

Korea, on their part, will be looking to give another exhibition of pacy hockey in the match against Argentina. The Korean team could have surprised Germany had they maintained their level of play in the later period of second half when they went into a shell and Germany staged a comeback with goals.

“We were tired in the second half after doing a lot of running in the first. We still have a long way to go in the tournament,” said Korean captain Ho Jong Seo.

In the day’s last match, the Netherlands will take on the Black Sticks.

The Dutch had a fine match against Argentina Monday with drag flick specialist Taeke Taekema slamming the tournament’s first hat-trick. Taekema who was the top-scorer in the last World Cup with 11 goals, is now chasing the record of most number of World cup goals. He is only two goals short of equalling his compatriot Floris Jan Bovelander’s record of 15 World Cup goals.

Taekema, however, said the team needs to improve.

“We under-performed against Argentina. When you have a 3-0 result on the board, you are always happy. But to be fair we have to improve a lot if we have to win the title,” he said.

The Netherlands will have to thank their veteran goalkeeper Guus Vogels for that. Vogels, who is playing in his last World Cup, made some brilliant saves and did not allow Argentina to score from half a dozen short corners.

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