The New Zealand mens hockey team suffered a heavy blow to their Olympic hopes when they went down 5-1 to The Netherlands today at Riverbank Arena today.
The Black Sticks had lost to Korea and beaten India in earlier matches and were looking to pull one out of the bag against the worlds third-ranked team.
New Zealand could hardly have asked for a better start, Simon Child scoring in the fourth minute with a reverse stick shot after a good attack down the left by Nick Wilson.
Thereafter it was a Dutch procession. Roderick Weusthof equalised after 15 minutes when he slotted a penalty stroke and 11 minutes later Mink van der Weerden repeated the dose.
There was further bad news for New Zealand almost immediately when Billy Bakker added a third Dutch goal.
The score at halftime was 3-1 to The Netherlands.
Any hopes of a New Zealand rally vanished in the 55th minute when Bakker tapped in for his second goal. The Dutch hammered home their superiority with a fifth goal, a real screamer in the 67th minute by Robbert Kemperman.
The Netherlands had the better of the run of play and earned five penalty corners to one.
New Zealands next match is on Sunday against Belgium who, at No 11, are four places below them in the world rankings. To have a realistic chance of progressing, the Black Sticks would need to win that game.