Title contenders the Netherlands pumped in six goals in the second half to blank a lowly Canada 6-0 and virtually booked a semifinal berth the the hockey World Cup in New Delhi on Friday .
Fourth ranked the Netherlands failed to score in the first half but came back strongly after the break with some attacking hockey and maintained their clean slate in the tournament. The Dutch are at the top of the Pool A with nine points from three matches. Canada are out of contention for a semifinal berth with their third successive loss today.
Taek Taekema (41st and 63rd minutes), Rogier Hofman (48th and 56th), Roanld Brouwer (43rd) and Rob Reckers (53rd) scored for the Netherlands under floodlights at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium here.
Taekema's two goals today made him the third most prolific scorer in World Cup history. He is on 19 goals, behind his own countrymen and penalty corner specialists Paul Litjens (26) and Ties Kruize (21).
He went past Wolfgang Strodter (18 goals) of erstwhile West Germany, countryman Floris Jan Bovelander (17) and Pakistani Sohail Abbas (17) who had so far scored just one goal from three matches in the ongoing World Cup. The Dutch earned eight penalty corners from which they converted two while Canada failed to get even a single penalty corner.
Canada, seven places below the Netherlands at 11th in the FIH rankings, kept at bay their opponents in the first half and the Dutch did not get many scoring chances even though they had more possession of the ball. The Dutch were disallowed a goal in the 23rd minute with the Scottish referee ruling that Ronald Brouwer's reverse stick shot was too high.
The Canadian goalkeeper also made a couple of fine saves -- first stopping a Taeke Taekema drag flick in the 18th minute and then Rob Recker's reverse stick shot two minutes before the breather. But it was a goal rush in the second half with the rampaging Dutch scoring almost at will and broke the Canadian resistance.
Taekema opened the scoring, placing his drag-flick to the right of the Canadian goalkeeper to sound the board. He then added another in the 63rd minute from a penalty corner to cement his tournament top scorer position with six goals. PTI