Black Sticks men lose match to Germany 5-3
The New Zealand men's chances of making the medal round of hockey's World Cup are all but gone after being humbled by Germany.
The struggling Germans used the pool game to find form, completely outplaying the Black Sticks on both attack and defence in the 5-3 win, though two late goals to Andy Hayward completed his second hat-trick of the tournament and gave the scoreboard respectability.
A highly-motivated German side came out firing against New Zealand in The Hague tonight to reinvigorate their own playoff chances and effectively end the Black Sticks'.
The Germans have been the story of the World Cup, especially the fact the world's No 2 side had lost two games in a row and failed to score in either of them.
So they were expected to come out hot against New Zealand and they did exactly that.
The desperate Germans scored a screaming opener after just 90 seconds.
A cross into the New Zealand goal circle easily found Florian Fuchs who turned and powerfully shot into Devon Manchester's goal off the crossbar.
The Germans dominated the first half, but for most of the spell failed to extend their lead.
They did earn a penalty stroke after an Hayward tackle was ruled illegal, but the experienced Christopher Zeller fired the stroke high, wide and not very handsome.
A defensive lapse in the 31st minute allowed Martin Zwicker to waltz into the New Zealand circle and he calmly - and too easily - added a second.
That could have been the goal which broke New Zealand's spirit; they'd stayed in touch on the scoreboard despite being run ragged and the Germans second goal could have opened the floodgates.
But just seconds later New Zealand got on the scoreboard through a Hayward dragflick.
It seemed like the perfect end to the first half for the Black Sticks, but they immediately gave up a penalty corner and Zeller made up for his stroke miss with a pin-point dragflick.
Five minutes into the second half Zwicker was credited with his second goal though it came off New Zealander Steve Edwards.
The Germans added a fifth goal in the last quarter through Benedikt Furk while New Zealand continued to struggle to put the Germans under any pressure.
Hayward scored his second and third of the match from penalty corners taking his tally for the tournament to six, though it was too little too late for the Black Sticks.
New Zealand, the world No 6 men's team, opened the tournament with wins over Korea and South Africa, but their surprise 3-1 loss to Argentina on Saturday morning and tonight's loss, mean they now need to thump the world No 3 Dutch side at home and hope a number of other results go their way.
Germany 5 (Martin Zwicker 2, Florian Fuchs, Christopher Zeller, Benedikt Furk)
New Zealand 3 (Andy Hayward 3)
Of these accolades, which would you like to win most?