Germany re-confirmed their status as tournament favourites with a convincing 3-0 win over Malaysia, despite being put under considerable pressure by their opponents in the first half of the match. Goals from Christopher ZELLER, Oliver KORN and Timo WESS were enough to guarantee Germany’s place at the top of the league table at the end of Day 3. Japan are the only other team left undefeated in the Olympic qualifier, having cruised to victory against Italy 5-1 earlier in the day. Germany and Japan face each other on Day 4 – a fixture which will result in at least one team losing their 100 per cent winning record. Poland recorded their first win of the Olympic Qualifying campaign, coming back from two-nil down to defeat Switzerland 3-2.
Full details of all of today’s scores and scorers can be found below.
Match 7 – Poland v Switzerland: 3-2
Poland fought back from a two goal deficit to defeat Switzerland 3-2. The winning goal came from the stick of Tomasz CHOCZAJ with just four minutes left to play, and effectively ending Switzerland’s hopes of qualifying for the Beijing Olympics.
Switzerland had an outstanding first half, with Ulrich BERGMANN in sparkling form for his side. He was involved in winning a penalty corner that was clinically dispatched by Philip KELLER, before brilliantly setting up Tomasz GAHWILER with a reverse stick pass to make the score 2-0. the heads of the Poland players dropped, but Switzerland failed to kill of their opponents despite having some excellent opportunities to do so. Poland began to regain their confidence and dominated the last ten minutes of the first half, but Dariusz RACHWALSKI and Tomasz CHOCZAJ were both denied by superb goalkeeping from Switzerland goalkeeper Patrick EGLOFF. Poland began the second half much as they had finished the first, and soon grabbed a goal back when Marcin STRYKOWSKI passed the ball into an open goal in the 38th minute. The equaliser came from Tomasz DUTKIEWICZ, who scored a penalty stroke 51 minutes into his 100th game for Poland. The last fifteen minutes saw action at both ends of the field, but the game was decided by Tomasz CHOCZAJ who passed the ball into the goal following a great pass from STRYKOWSKI. Switzerland became frustrated as the final whistle approached, and Tobias BERGMANN was given a yellow card for disputing a decision by umpire Hamish JAMSON.
Poland will play Italy on Day 4, with Switzerland taking on Malaysia.
Match 8 - Japan v Italy: 5-1
A hat trick from Japan captain Takahiko YAMABORI helped his team defeat Italy 5-1, keeping the 100 per cent win record at the Olympic Qualifying tournament in Kakamigahara. Kenichi KATAYAMA and Ryuji FURUSATO were also on the score-sheet for Japan, with Massimo LANZANO scoring Italy’s only goal of the game.
Two fierce penalty corner drag flicks from Japan captain Takahiko YAMABORI gave Japan a two-nil lead in the first half, but Italy pulled themselves back into the game with a Massimo LANZANO penalty corner. Takahiko YAMABORI then completed his hat-trick with another excellent set piece effort – it was his third goal from just three attempts in this match. Kenichi KATAYAMA scored a marvellous deflection in the 57th minute, before Ryuji FURUSATO produced another great field goal eight minutes later. Italy struggled to get to grips with the movement and pace of Japan, who look to be improving every game.
Japan face world champions Germany in their match on Day 4, with Italy hoping to get a result against Poland.
Match 9 - Germany v Malaysia: 3-0
Malaysia gave Germany a tougher game than they had bargained for in the final match of the day, but the Germans proved their class as they emerged 3-0 winners.
The game marked an incredible milestone for Tibor WEISSENBORN, who made his 300th international appearance for Germany, and was suitably honoured by all of the players before the match. Germany won a penalty corner in the opening minute, hinting that they were going to continue in the same form that they produced against Switzerland, but Malaysia survived the effort from Christopher ZELLER. Germany won plenty of penalty corners, but Malaysia defended well and created a number of excellent opportunities for themselves, none better than when Philip ZELLER cleared a shot off the goal-line with keeper Ulrich BUBOLZ beaten. Germany took the lead in the 23rd minute of the game, when Christopher ZELLER pounced on a loose ball directly in front of the goal to score his fourth of the tournament. Four minutes later, Mohd Amin RAHIM seemed certain to score, but a brilliant stick save from BUBOLZ denied him the opportunity. At half time Malaysia could count themselves unlucky not to be level, but Germany were clearly the dominant team in the second period. Oliver KORN scored Germany’s second goal of the match, picking up a rebound from the goalkeeper’s pads before passing into the net in the 43rd minute. Germany captain Timo WESS sealed the win with a penalty corner strike that the Malaysian defence could do little about.
Germany will play Japan on Day 4, with Malaysia taking on Switzerland.
Tomorrow is a tournament rest day, with the action resuming on Thursday 10th April.
Poland v Switzerland: 3-2
SUI – Philip KELLER PC 11m
SUI – Thomas GAHWILER FG 20m
POL – Marcin STRYKOWSKI FG 38m
POL – Tomasz DUTKIEWICZ PS 51m
POL – Tomasz CHOCZAJ FG 67m
Japan v Italy: 5-1
JPN – Takahiko YAMABORI PC 12m
JPN – Takahiko YAMABORI PC 21m
ITA – Massimo LANZANO PC 28m
JPN – Takahiko YAMABORI PC 31m
JPN – Kenichi KATAYAMA FG 57m
JPN – Ryuji FURUSATO FG 65m
Germany v Malaysia: 3-0
GER – Christopher ZELLER FG 23m
GER – Oliver KORN FG 43m
GER – Timo WESS PC 58m
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