MELBOURNE: Pakistan’s dream start to the Champions Trophy turned into a nightmare as they fell 3-1 to the Netherlands, while Germany downed New Zealand 3-2 on Saturday.
Despite being underdogs, Pakistan took it right up to the highly-fancied Dutch outfit, scoring the opening goal of the Pool B match.
But the Netherlands’ discipline and overall superiority shone through, scoring the last three goals of the game.
Pakistani coach Akhtar Rasool Chaudhry said there was much to like about the team’s efforts given the inexperience among his players.
“I think both teams played well. Our midfield played much better but our forwards missed too many chances. I think we will improve in the next matches,” he said.
“My team is on the way up, we are building our team and developing a good team. This is a start and I hope in one year we will have a very good team.”
Pakistan did the majority of the early attacking, however they were unable to generate genuine shots on goal.
Pakistan opened the scoring against the run in play with Muhammad Waqas finishing off after a series of shots on goal in the 17th minute.
The Netherlands went on all-out attack and levelled with minutes remaining in the opening half, with the first of two goals by Sander de Wijn.
The Dutch looked likely to score again when they were awarded another penalty corner with 46 seconds remaining, however Jeroen Hertzberger’s shot was well-saved.
The Netherlands proved why they are one of the best teams in the world by controlling the second half and scoring two more goals, including a second by de Wijn to seal a comfortable victory.
Netherlands coach Paul Van Ass said the result was pleasing as the Dutch enter a new era without veteran superstar Teun De Nooijer.
“The basic structure doesn’t depend anymore on De Nooijer. He still played a fantastic (London) Olympic tournament but he wasn’t the only player to track. We have more players who can make a difference, and that is good news,” he said.
In a Pool A match, Germany held off the fast-finishing New Zealand after scoring all their goals in the first half.
The Olympic champions’ inexperienced line-up showed signs of fatigue in the second half, giving New Zealand a chance to snatch victory.
A late goal to Matt L’Huillier with five minutes remaining gave the Kiwis some hope, but despite some close calls the German defence held on.
“I was unhappy with the score line at half time obviously but I wasn’t unhappy with our play,” New Zealand coach Colin Batch said.
Australia play Belgium in Pool B and India take on England in Pool A matches later on Saturday.