Black Sticks into must-win mode at World Cup
The New Zealand women's hockey team are now in must-win mode at the World Cup after being steam-rolled by the Dutch home side this morning.
The Dutch won 2-0, but had birthday girl Sally Rutherford not had such a good game in goal for the Black Sticks it could have been much worse.
After losing to 1-0 to Korea in their second match, New Zealand needed to pick something up from this match which was always going to be tough against the world's top women's team.
New Zealand's cause was made tougher as they conceded early.
The Dutch are well known for their dragflicking from penalty corners, but they surprised the New Zealanders with a deflection option first up.
It worked; in just the fourth minute the Dutch scored through Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel in her 100th test.
New Zealand were completely outplayed in the opening half and were simply unable to put the Dutch under any pressure.
They did, however, keep the hosts out for large periods and as halftime neared, would have been happy to only trail by one.
Rutherford had made a number of handy saves, three of which were diving efforts low on her stick side.
The Dutch were starting to get frustrated before a stunning second goal, albeit a rather lucky one.
A hit-and-hope pass from wide in the 30th minute was met by Kim Lammers on the run who deflected the ball through her own legs and into the top of Rutherford's net to double the home side's lead.
They deserved their halftime buffer, having had 12 clear shots to New Zealand's one. The Kiwis' only half-chance of the first half came in the last minute when Katie Glynn found herself in space in the Dutch circle, but her attempt on goal was comfortably blocked.
The second half was more open as New Zealand searched for goals. The Dutch still dominated and cut down any New Zealand attack, but they too were far from their best.
The world No 1 team will be disappointed they scored just two goals and only one from their seven penalty corners, though their defence was impressive. New Zealand only forced the Dutch goalkeeper into one save, with just eight minutes to go.
Rutherford on the other hand had a far busier 33rd birthday than she would have liked.
And while the New Zealand defence received a pass mark for their effort, the attack was limp.
New Zealand have now gone 166 minutes at this tournament since scoring their last goal.
They now must beat the unbeaten Australians and Japan in their final two matches if they are to have any chance of making the top four and the medal round.
Earlier in the day in New Zealand's group, Australia beat Belgium 3-2 to remain unbeaten while Japan and Korea drew 1-1.
Result: Netherlands 2 (Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel 4, Kim Lammers 30) New Zealand HT: 2-0.
Group A Points: (after three matches) Netherlands 9, Australia 9, Korea 4, New Zealand 3, Japan 1, Belgium 0