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.
The Netherlands created chances at will and if not for the veteran Malaysian goalkeeper Kumar Subramaniam’s heroics, the margin of defeat could have been bigger for the Asian side.
Subramaniam hardly got any help from his defenders and was forced to make numerous saves.
It was a horrendous display from the Malaysians in all departments of the game. There was hardly any co-ordination between their defenders, midfielders and forwards, which helped the Dutch to snatch the ball whenever they wanted, before going for the kill.
The gap in quality between the two sides can be gauged from the fact that Netherlands had 29 shots at the goal as against Malaysia’s just three.
Placed in the ‘pool of death’ because of the presence of three former champions in Netherlands, Germany and Pakistan, it could be a herculean task for a demolarised Malaysia to make a comeback in the tournament after Saturday’s heavy defeat.
Malaysia will next play Pakistan on December 5, while Netherlands will be up against Germany.