The Dutch Juniors have had a disappointing start to the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur. In their first match of the tournament, they drew 3-3 against Pakistan in a thrilling battle. The Asians came to the same level just before the end from a penalty shot. The Netherlands has little time to recover from the battle, because Belgium is already waiting in the second group match on Thursday.
A lot of things really happened in the final phase between the Netherlands and Pakistan. The Dutch team still had a 3-2 lead five minutes before the end. Even had chances for a fourth goal. Pakistan pulled out all the stops to turn the exciting match around for the umpteenth time. The Asians received another yellow card after a disturbance at the Dutch goal. And shortly afterwards, a Pakistani attacker seemed to hit the ball full-on. He claimed to have been touched by Guus Jansen, who was standing in his back. Pakistan asked the video referee and he gave a penalty ball. Arbaz Ahmad scored mercilessly: 3-3.
It was an end to a bizarre match, with six goals and three yellow cards. And that on the day that the Dutch Juniors had been waiting for for so long. In fact, since last summer, when the Netherlands qualified – as European champions – for this tournament at the European Championships in Ghent. Since then, we had to wait and create as many practice moments as possible together. That was no easy feat, given the busy schedule of the big league. At Papendal, national coach Jesse Mahieu forged his group, which has become increasingly smaller in recent weeks. There was more and more clarity . About the availability of Duco Telgenkamp, who has already broken through with the big Dutch team, and the absence of the injured Miles Bukkens. And about the long goalkeeping battle , which continued when the rest of the selection was already known.
The remaining group of eighteen got to work early on Wednesday. At nine o’clock local time the ball rolled for the first time in the National Hockey Stadium of Malaysia. But the Dutch Juniors were not yet fully awake. It took Mahieu’s team a lot of time to get into the match. Yes, there was a shot wide by Casper van der Veen after about four minutes. But otherwise it was mainly restless in the first quarter. Unnecessary hand-ins, failed scoops and half-misunderstandings. The first series of four corners yielded nothing due to two stopping errors on the header of Bouwe Buitenhuis.
Lost the referral very quickly
To top that negative note, the Netherlands also lost its video referral after seventeen minutes – at Pakistan’s first corner. The Dutch Juniors played hockey against themselves and were visibly disappointed about it. When Telgenkamp got stuck after a difficult solo, he made a frustrated cut with his stick. Shit. It still didn’t work. It took a moment to help the Netherlands get over the dead center. And that happened.
After nineteen minutes, center Luke Dommershuijzen broke through and created a surplus situation. The Netherlands played it beautifully. Dommershuijzen served Boris Aardenburg, who immediately passed the ball to Olivier Hortensius. The Rotterdam striker did what he had to do: tap in. The faces of the Netherlands and the fans in the stands, behind the red-white-blue flags, were filled with excitement. The spell was broken.
The Dutch immediately started playing much more freely, so the 2-0 could not be delayed for long. Jan van ‘t Land was very close after 27 minutes, but his attempt was turned away. About two minutes later the second goal came, via Van der Veen, who was played a few meters in front of the goal by Guus Jansen. This created a nice margin against the Pakistan of Roelant Oltmans, who was appointed as a ‘consultant’ in May and was therefore put in charge of the talents. The former national coach of the Netherlands – who last gave the Orange Men the World Cup title and Olympic gold – will also have seen that the break came as a gift from heaven for his broken team.
Ten minutes penalty, tipsy game
Pakistan only landed in Malaysia on Monday, and came back into the match out of nowhere just after halftime. A cross was extended high and reached striker Arshad Liaqat who shot in hard. The Netherlands still claimed that the ball was dangerous, but yes… they had already lost that video call. The Dutch Juniors were searching and were very grateful to goalkeeper Daan Taphoorn when he thwarted another Pakistani chance two minutes after the goal. Those difficult minutes became even more difficult when Dylan Lucieer clumsily and dangerously swiped his stick into the face of a Pakistani. The Rotterdammer received a yellow card plus a ten-minute penalty.
The Netherlands was therefore in the corner where the blows fell. And Pakistan took full advantage of that. Six minutes after halftime, Sufyan Khan made it 2-2. That nice lead had disappeared like snow in the sun. Suddenly the roles were reversed and the Dutch Juniors were tipsy. A team that mainly wanted to survive and want to pass the time with one less man. Positive news: it worked. Less was that the only chance of quarter three – another corner – was again missed.
It turned out to be the beginning of a better phase. Because the tide turned, once again. At the end of quarter three, Pakistan received a yellow card, meaning that the Netherlands had one more man on the field for five minutes. That made for a stormy start to Q4, with bingo after just two minutes. Once again it was Hortensius who scored a liberating goal, this time after a wonderful solo and a ditch strike into the far corner: 3-2. There were still chances for a fourth goal. Via Van ‘t Land, who mowed over and a corner was whistled.
The lock is known. With the controversial penalty ball that still made it 3-3. It was a tough introduction to international hockey for the Dutch Juniors, who need to get back on their feet. There is still everything to play for, but there will be a lot of pressure in the match against Belgium. Starts tomorrow, 11:00 am Dutch time.