Germany survive Korean scare in World Cup

NEW DELHI: Two-time defending champions Germany came from behind to force a 2-2 draw on South Korea in the men''s field hockey World Cup on Monday.

Dutch penalty corner ace Taeke Taekema slammed the first hat-trick of the tournament to help his team crush Argentina 3-0 at the Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi In another group A match, New Zealand came back from a 1-2 deficit at half-time to defeat Canada 3-2, with Ryan Archibald scoring the winner four minutes before the final whistle.

The Koreans led 2-0 at half-time, a margin the powerful Germans had not endured at the interval of a World Cup match since trailing 0-4 against Australia in Sydney in 1994.

But the reigning Olympic champions who are looking for a hat-trick of World Cup titles after winning the last two editions in 2002 and 2006, fought back strongly after resumption.

Florian Fuchs narrowed the margin in the 50th minute with a goal that was referred to the video umpire, before Benjamin Wess scored the equaliser off a goal-mouth melee eight minutes later.

The Germans were lucky to escape with a point in the opening match of group A, which also includes the Netherlands, Argentina, New Zealand and Canada.

Two teams from the group will advance to the semi-finals.

Hyun Hye-Sung put the Asian champions ahead in the fourth minute with a stinging penalty corner shot, before Lee Nam Yong produced a brilliant second goal in the 15th minute.

Taking a pass from the centre, Lee sped down the left flank and hit a reverse stick from the narrowest of angles that caught German goalkeeper Max Weinhold on the wrong foot and went in.

"I am must admit we were lucky to draw," said German captain Max Muller. "But I am also happy we were able to fight back in the second-half and create chances.

"We need to improve our penalty corner conversions. We wasted six today. Just can''t afford to do it in our remaining games.

"The South Koreans were fast on their counter-attacks like always, but we always knew that. They did not play any better today, it''s just that we were not at our best."

Taekema''s hat-trick against Argentina took his World Cup tally to 16, just one short of another Dutch penalty corner specialist Floris Jan-Bovelander.

"A good start, of course," said Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel. "Taeke is obviously a very important player for us and it is good to have him in such form.

"This is only the first match and we are settling down well."

Canada, ranked 11th in the world, took an early lead against the number eight Kiwis when Mark Pearson scored off a rebound in the second minute.

Priyesh Bhana drew level in the 11th, but the Canadians nudged ahead a second time in the 20th through a field goal by Philip Wright.

New Zealand attacked after the resumption and were rewarded with the equaliser by Nick Haig in the 46th minute, before Archibald found the winner from the top of the circle.