Hockey World Cup 2018, Netherlands vs Malaysia: 5 Talking Points
- Netherlands romped past Malaysia with a dominant performance to start their World Cup campaign on the right note.
It looks like our hosts India have got a tough competitor in the form of Netherlands.
The three-time World Champions, who last won the World Cup on home soil and missed the chance to create a golden double in the previous edition, completely mauled the Malaysian challenge, pummeling them by 7-0.
When Malaysia stepped onto the turf, they were riding high on the success at Asian Games, having shocked India in their route to the finals, even though they were pummeled by Japan in the penalty shootouts.
Besides, they were now coached by Roelant Oltmans, who worked wonders for India in his short tenure as the team coach, and an ex-Dutch great.
However, the Dutch had other plans. In pursuit of a World Cup since 1998, they gave two hoots about the Malaysian challenge, courtesy the presence of Argentine coach Max Caldas, who has had immense success with the women's team of Netherlands.
They smelt success within the 11th minute, when Jeroen Hertzberger, one of the experienced forwards for the Netherlands, scored a field goal, smashing the Malaysian defence to the tatters. From there, Caldas' boys never looked back.
Scoring a goal after goal, in regular intervals, Netherlands not only demolished the aura around Malaysia but also sent a tough message to their opponents.
Their bronze medal at FIH Champions Trophy was a mere aberration, for they wouldn't settle for anything less than a gold medal, ending their World Cup drought of 20 years.
Going by their recent performance, it doesn't look as if they wish to miss out on this glorious moment either.
While a list of this phenomenal victory has its special moments, here are the 5 essential points that nobody should miss about this one-sided affair between Netherlands and Malaysia:-
#5 Attack from the Word 'Go'
The very first change visible in the match was when the Netherlands attacked from the moment the first whistle blared throughout the Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar.
The Dutch boys, as coached by Max Caldas, believe in the doctrine of maximum attacks with minimum room for defensive play, a strategy that worked extremely well with the likes of Malaysia.
The very first goal was scored by Jeroen Hertzberger, experienced Dutch forward in the 11th minute of the match, and this set a precedent of the Dutch attackers leading the front throughout the match.
Scoring at regular intervals, Netherlands never let their guard down even once, giving no room at all for any error that could be exploited by Malaysia to bounce back into the match.
Incidentally, of the seven goals that Netherlands scored against Malaysia, five were field goals, and just two came from penalty corners.
This speaks volumes about the intensity with which the Dutch are playing for the ultimate title.