Bhubaneswar, 6 December 2014: World Cup Silver medallists the Netherlands produced a fine 3-0 (2-0) win over Argentina in the opening match of Pool B at the Hero Hockey Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar.
The crowded Kalinga Hockey Stadium saw the Netherlands being awarded five penalty corners in the first quarter but only scoring from one occasion. Mink van der Weerden’s drag-flick found the net after 12 minutes, earlier Manu Brunet had saved a van der Weerden push on the line.
Argentina’s Leones also had their chances to score, for instance when Lucas Vila received a running pass from Matias Paredes but could not defeat Pirmin Blaak in the Dutch goal.
The Dutch eventually doubled their lead in the second quarter when Robbert Kemperman (19’), known in Holland as Mr. Backhand, converted a beautiful pass from Sander Baart with a reverse stick strike.
Argentina, who recently surprised by taking the Bronze medal at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, fought hard to get back in to the game but Blaak kept them out.
With 11 minutes to go Diede van Puffelen scored his first goal in his senior career securing Oranje a deserved 3-0 victory.
Speaking post the win, Netherlands Captain, Robert Horst said, “First game with a victory is always a good experience. Argentina is a good side, it was a tough game which we converted into victory. We were bit slow in the fourth quarter and we will need to work on this plus we even need to work on our defence.”
Speaking on the game Netherlands coach Max Caldas said, “In the first 3 quarters we were good and played well, it was only in the fourth quarter that we were slow in our game. But I am happy in the manner the boys performed today by maintaining the pace and we are looking at our game against Germany tomorrow.”