Black Sticks 3
New Zealand enjoyed a brief moment in the sun before the Dutch juggernaut took over as the Netherlands cruised to a 7-3 win at the women's hockey World Cup in Rosario, Argentina, today.
New Zealand went ahead in the first minute but the defending champions and the world's top-ranked team were too clinical and too ruthless, a three-goal scoring spree just after halftime sealing the result after the seventh-ranked New Zealanders had held them to 2-1 at the interval.
It was New Zealand's second loss from two pool A matches following a 0-2 loss to Germany in their opening match, while the Netherlands have scored 14 goals from their two matches after disposing of India 7-1 on Tuesday.
New Zealand made the perfect start when Krystal Forgesson, who celebrated her 100th international with a hat-trick, surprised the Dutch with the opening goal inside the first minute.
Gemma Flynn was the provider, rifling in a right-wing cross which Forgesson neatly deflected in the net.
New Zealand's joy was shortlived as the Netherlands hit back immediately, Ellen Hoog poking home a simple tap in after New Zealand goalkeeper Beth Jurgeliet could only block a save into her path.
The Dutch impressed with their short, quick passing in the attacking third as New Zealand defended doggedly but struggled to maintain possession when they did win the ball.
Flynn had the best chance to get a second goal after a rare foray into opposition territory but her reverse stick shot was just wide.
Kim Lammers put the Dutch ahead midway through the first half, finding the post with a deflected shot before latching on to the rebound for an easy goal, her third of the tournament.
Crucially, Flynn was yellow carded just before halftime for a reckless tackle on Wieke Dijkstra.
New Zealand held on until halftime but they eventually paid the price, conceding three goals - to Marilyn Agliotti, penalty corner queen Maartje Paumen and Michelle Van der Pols - in the first four minutes after the break while Flynn was sitting on the sideline.
The Dutch were relentless with Janneke Schopman making it 5-1 midway through the half and Hoog scoring a second with 10 minutes remaining, slapping a reverse stick shot past Jurgeliet from the top of the circle.
New Zealand kept fighting and Forgesson was rewarded with two late consolation goals, the first another neat deflection from a Charlotte Harrison bullet and the second a penalty stroke on fulltime.
New Zealand's next match is against Japan on Saturday morning (NZT), with their remaining pool matches against Australia and India next week.