Hockey World Cup 2018: Pakistan vs Germany - 3 talking points
Two totally contrasting matches were played out in Pool D with the first between Holland and Malaysia being a supercharged, fast, and one-sided affair while the second between Germany and Pakistan resembled a close and intense game of chess being played out on a hockey pitch.
Stefan Kermas' German side who had a rather unpleasant experience in Bhubaneswar last December when seven of their players suddenly fell ill in the latter stages of the tournament began in characteristic style, as they sought to probe the Pakistan defence with a long series of crisp, vertical passes.
Pakistan, on the other, was rather uncharacteristically cautious in their approach but managed to keep the German strikers at a safe distance for the most part, with Imran Butt rushing to the rescue when the white shirts did manage a goalbound strike.
Let us take a look at 3 factors that may have been significant in determining the ultimate course of the vital match in the World Cup's toughest pool.
#3 Pakistan attempt to play the Germany way
The match between Pakistan and Germany was expected to be a clash between two sides who play different styles of hockey, but spectators who expected the Men in Green to display their free-flowing game and flair up front were in for a massive disappointment.
Hassan Sardar, one of the most stylish centre-forwards of all time looked on from the bench as the four-time Champions tightened things up at the back and kept it tight throughout the duration of the match.
What they failed to do, however, was to play to their strength, and test the German defence with their enviable dribbling and dodging skills. While keeping the structure intact was fine, Pakistan was totally unadventurous, managing rare forays into the opposition half and not committing too many men forward.
Rizwan Sr. had a quiet and uneventful evening, so much so, that the Pakistan captain seemed invisible for a while when in fact he had spent 47 minutes on the pitch. Pakistan's principal playmaker managed to manufacture a few midfield passes but no meaningful assists which could trouble the German defence.
Ali Shan had an off day too while Umar Butta was tireless as ever on the field but failed to inject energy into the forward line.
Sadly, Pakistan played the German way in order to contain their opponents but conceded a lone goal and lost 3 points which rendered the entire strategy ineffective.