Bhubaneswar, Dec 2:
Four-time champions Pakistan produced a lion-hearted performance before going down 0-1 to Olympic bronze medallist Germany in their opening Pool D match of the men’s hockey World Cup here on Saturday.
It is a creditable result for Pakistan considering the fact that the nation did not have a great build up to the tournament.
There were doubts over Pakistan’s participation due to lack of funds and only a last minute sponsorship deal with Haier made it possible for them to make the trip.
One of the most celebrated teams of yesteryears, Pakistan hockey has been on a decline over the last few decades and they also suffer from lack of exposure.
Currently ranked world no. 13, Pakistan gave a tough fight to the world no. 6 Germans by holding them till the 36th minute.
The only goal of the match was scored by Germany’s Marco Miltkau in the 36th minute.
With Pakistan in action, it was a highly-anticipated encounter for the hockey fans of the city, especially after the neighbour’s indecent behaviour during the 2014 Champions Trophy.
But the crowd behaved in a mature way, supporting the good moves of both the teams.
It was all about defending for Pakistan in the first two quarters and they did that stoutly, denying the little chances Germany created in the opening 30 minutes.
The Germans used both the flanks to create opportunities but Pakistan meant business and fought valiantly to keep a clean slate.
Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Butt came to his side’s rescue on two occasions, the notable between them was the first chance created by the Germans in the third minute when he kept out Benedikt Furk’s neat deflection from Christopher R`uhr’s pass.
Pakistan fought valiantly to keep a clean slate at the halfway mark.
But after the change of ends, the match opened up with both the teams going on the offensive.
It was Germany who finally broke the shackles six minutes after the break when Miltkau pushed in Niklas Wellen’s deflection past an onrushing Imran Butt.
Jeroen Hertzberger scored a hat-trick to help last edition silver medallist Netherlands spank a hapless Malaysia 7-0 in a lopsided opening Pool D encounter at the ongoing men’s hockey World Cup here on Saturday.
Asian Games silver medallist Malaysia, coached by legendary Dutchman Roelant Oltmans, were expected to produce a fight but the world number 4 Netherlands turned out to be a much superior opponent.
Besides Hertzberger (11th, 29th, 60th minutes), Mirco Pruijser (21st), Mink van der Weerden (35th), Robbert Kemperman and Thierry Brinkman (57th) were the other goal scorers for the three-time champions.
The Dutch, who are eyeing a fourth World Cup title, turned out to be too hot for Malaysia to handle as they toyed with the opposition defence and scored goals at will on a miserable night for their Asian rival.