Olympic silver medalists the Netherlands proved too strong for New Zealand in their Champions Trophy men's hockey quarterfinal in Melbourne on Thursday.
The Black Sticks started strongly, earning a penalty corner in the first minute, but the Dutch were quick to work their way back into the game.
Jeroen Hertzberger gave them a 1-0 lead 13 minutes into the first half with a clear strike on a penalty corner. But the New Zealand defence worked hard to limit the damage, aided by some outstanding work from rookie goalkeeper Hamish McGregor.
The Netherlands went into the break without adding to their score, despite dominating possession and managing four shots on goal to New Zealand's none.
Billy Bakker doubled the score barely 10 minutes into the second half, providing a clinical finish to Sander de Wun's superb run down the right
The Black Sticks continued to run strongly, creating some hard-earned chances as the clock wound down, but without finding the final finish.
New Zealand striker Phil Burrows said the Dutch ability to retain possession proved difficult to combat.
"They made us chase a lot of balls, especially towards the end - they're a class act," he said afterwards.
"But I think we've made big gains in the last few games... We're disappointed with the result, but as long as we're improving, we're happy."
New Zealand now meet world No.1 Germany in the play-offs for fifth to eighth on Saturday, while the Netherlands go through to do battle with Pakistan in the semifinals.
World No.9 Pakistan stunned defending Olympic champions Germany 2-1, fighting back with two goals to Shakeel Abbasi after Moritz Furste gave Germany a 1-0 lead in the ninth minute of the early quarterfinal.