It's fair to say there will be plenty to work on for the Black Sticks despite a come from behind 4-2 win over Belgium in their Hockey World Cup opener this morning.

Coach Mark Hager was less than impressed with the side's performance after the Commonwealth Games champions conceded two quick goals to trail 2-1 at halftime. The side fought back with two quick strikes after halftime before Olivia Merry added her second from a penalty corner late in the game to secure the win.

"Pretty pleased with the three points but not so much the performance today," Hager told Radio Sport.

"I don't think we were as clinical as we should have been especially in the second quarter. We got a little bit lazy and little bit timid I thought, the way we were playing. Probably turned too much ball over for my liking. We just didn't make good decisions on the ball and I think that's what hurt us.


New Zealand took control of the game early on before opening the scoring in the 24th minute when Kelsey Smith sent a deflection into goal from an Anita McLaren penalty corner.

But Belgium, ranked 13th in the world, took a shock halftime lead with two goals in two minutes. Belgium capitalised on some poor New Zealand defending as the Black Sticks failed to clear from their own circle on three occasions before Louise Versavel sent in the equaliser. Then less than two minutes later Jill Boon fire them into the lead with a rocket strike from just inside the circle.

Whatever was said at halftime seemed to work for New Zealand. The Black Sticks re-took the lead with two quick goals after the break to Shiloh Gloyn and Merry. Merry then added a second in the final quarter from a penalty corner to secure the three points.

"The pleasing thing is we came out after halftime and executed some corners really well, to come away with a win is good," Hager added.

"We didn't underestimate Belgium, we are in a really tough pool, we're up against Japan next who I thought played really well against Australia".

The Black Ferns face Japan tomorrow night after they lost 3-2 in the group's opening game yesterday. The top team in each group advances to the quarter-finals while second and third sides move onto a quarter-final playoff game.