Holders Germany rally to tie 2-2 with Korea, Taekema fires hat-trick (Roundup)

March 2nd, 2010 - 12:37 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 1 (IANS) Holders Germany saved the blushes with a late rally to finish 2-2 against South Korea while title contenders the Netherlands rode on a Taeke Taekema hat-trick to blank Argentina 3-0 in Pool A matches of the Hockey World Cup here Monday.
The other match in the same Pool saw New Zealand edge past Canada 3-2 on Day 2 of the tournament at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

The Germans, who have come with a relatively inexperienced team, fell back 0-2 at the breather, but stepped up the gear in the second session to draw level and retain their record of having never lost against the Koreans in the cup.

In the first half, the fleet-footed Koreans rattled the Germans with breakaway moves with Hye-Sung Hyun (4th minute) and Nam Yong Lee (15th minute) striking home.

The European hockey powerhouse got the reducer, courtesy an outstanding strike by the promising Florian Fuchs (50th minute) before Benjamin Wess (58th minute) got his maiden World Cup goal as the tournament had its first drawn game.

Asian champions Korea went ahead from their first penalty corner. Hyun found the target with a drag flick that gave no chance to German goalkeeper Max Weinhold.

Lee doubled the lead with a spectacular reverse stick goal from almost a zero angle to raise the possibility of yet another upset after England’s shock win over hot favourites Australia in a Pool B outing Sunday.

The Germans, eyeing a hat-trick of World Cup titles after their triumphs in 2002 and 2006, were determined in the second session and forced the Koreans to go onto the defensive.

The 18-year-old Fuchs showed fine athleticism to connect a feed from Moritz Furste by diving full length, and made the scoreline 2-1.

Having tasted blood, the Germans increased the tempo and evened out matters as Wess scored from close.

Three-time champion the Netherlands began their campaign with a bang as drag flick expert Taekema converted three penalty corners in the 14th, 35th and 61st minutes to fire the tournament’s first hat-trick. The Netherlands led 2-0 in the first half.

Taekema was the top-scorer in the last World Cup with 11 goals and yet again showed his class Monday. His hat-trick was the 50th in World Cup history.

Taekema now has scored 15 goals in World Cup matches and is only two short of equalling his compatriot Floris Jan Bovelander’s record of most number of World Cup goals.

The Netherlands goalkeeper Guus Vogels, who is playing in his last World Cup, was outstanding making some brilliant saves.

Argentina got half a dozen penalty corners but Vogels was unbeatable under the bar, deflecting the powerful strikes with aplomb.

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