New Zealand hockey's Olympic aspirations were given a reality check in Utrecht overnight (NZT), with the Netherlands accounting for the Black Sticks men 3-0 in a warm-up match.
The third-ranked Dutch finished strongly, knocking in two late goals after the world No.7 New Zealanders worked hard to stay in touch throughout much of the game.
Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod says the display was encouraging despite the final score, with a 4-3 penalty corner count in New Zealand's favour.
"We're in the same pool in London, so it was very much about finding out a few things about the Dutch and exploring some tactical options," he said.
"We were very competitive today and you only need to look at the penalty corner count to see that."
The Netherlands opened the scoring in the fifth minute from a penalty corner goal, which just seconds before had been a corner at the other end.
Unsuccessful Kiwi corners in the 20th and 22nd minutes meant the home side took a 1-0 lead into the break.
The Dutch extended the lead in the 21st minute of the second half, and then with five minutes to go they knocked in their third while two Black Sticks players were sin-binned.The two teams meet again on Sunday.
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