The New Zealand men's hockey team will play for the minor
places at the Champions Trophy after surrendering an early
lead against Germany in Melbourne today.
The Black Sticks came out strongly and quickly built a 2-0
lead, but an unbelievable surge and six second-half goals
from Germany saw the Kiwis go down 6-4.
The loss sends New Zealand to the playoff for seventh where
they will face England in an effort to avoid a disappointing
After a terrific first half, New Zealand paid the price for
errors and turnovers in a second spell which saw them lose
all momentum. Coach Colin Batch said the second half
performance was below par and nowhere near the potential of
his young side.
"We spoke about playing for the full 70 minutes plus," he
said. "It's very disappointing that we didn't play like we
should've in the second half and we just let the Germans do
what they wanted to.
"After all our hard work, five minutes into the second half
we were two-all, so that part of it wasn't good enough and we
need to improve in that area."
In sweltering temperatures approaching 35 degrees, Batch
discounted fatigue as an issue in the second half slump.
"It was purely mental. We weren't prepared for the second
half, gave the ball away too much and let them run at us. I
think you see as players get tired the game opens up in very
hot conditions, but it's still no excuse for our second half
The Black Sticks had earlier taken the lead in the seventh
minute of the game after claiming back-to-back penalty
corners. Veteran striker Phil Burrows showed his class,
regathering a deflection twice before crashing the ball into
the goal on his reverse stick.
New Zealand's buffer increased late in the first half with
Simon Child catching the German defence napping from a free
hit, sending a pin-point reverse tomahawk cross into the
circle for Nick Wilson to deflect past the goalkeeper.
The Germans created several chances of their own in the first
half but were kept out thanks to some well-organised Kiwi
defence, led by 24-year-old Hamish McGregor in goal.
After the break, though, it all changed, with Germany coming
out firing and striking back with two goals in the space of
Marco Miltkau was first to fire for the Olympic gold
medallists, sweeping his way around the legs of McGregor
before Mats Grambusch levelled the score at 2-2.
The score changed hands several times as time ticked away,
with Stephen Jenness and Nick Haig adding to New Zealand's
total. But a further four German goals sealed the result as
Jan Christopher Ruehr scored two of the tournament's best
goals late in the half.
The Black Sticks play England at 10:30am tomorrow in their
last game of the tournament.