In the men's competition, World Champions Germany had a troublesome start against the Chinese hosts today but eventually secured a 4-1 win. Great Britain had a great start into the tournament, defeating Pakistan, and New Zealand produced the first major upset of the men's competition, winning over a Korean team that is six places above them in the world rankings. Spain had a promising start defeating Belgium, and both Australia and the Netherlands had no difficulties in their games against Canada and South Africa respectively.
Germany defeat China 4:1 (1:1)
In the first match of the men's tournament and the first ever official meeting of the two nations, the German team had a slow start against the Chinese hosts who are the lowest ranked team in this competition. The home team soon proved that their ranking belies their potential, coming out aggressively and taking an quick lead through a Na Yubo goal, a stunning strike that was celebrated wildly by the sizeable crowd of supporters in the stadium for the early game.
The Germans soon showed why they are considered one of the best sides in the world however, adapting to China's fast play and forcing their way into the game. In the first half, they could not do more than equalize, through a cracking Christopher Zeller flick just under the crossbar, but as time progressed they took control of the match more and more.
When the teams returned, play turned physical, and Tibor Weissenborn picked up a yellow card. One man down, the Germans grew only more determined and took the lead as Florian Keller sank two goals, one from open play, then a second from a short corner.
Carlos Nevado provided the finishing touch to the World Champions' win with a reverse stick hit with two minutes on the clock. Germany thus begin their Olympic campaign with a good win against potentially tricky opponents. It was a slow start for them, but they picked up well to claim the win. China on the other side has laid down an impressive opener, making it very clear that despite their low ranking, they are no walkover in this tournament.
World Champions Germany had a slow start but secured a win against China, while Great Britain picked up three points against Pakistan.
In the men's competition, World Champions Germany had a troublesome start against the Chinese hosts today but eventually secured a 4-1 win. Next up were Great Britain and Pakistan in an encounter that could prove to be crucial when the final count rolls around, and the Brits took victory with an impressive performance in the first half that yielded three goals.
Great Britain defeat Pakistan 4:2 (3:0)
Great Britain had a blazing start into their first encounter against Pakistan, scoring as early as the first minute as James Tindall finished off the first attack with a powerful hit into the net.
Rob Moore added the Brits' second with a sensational reverse stick effort into the bottom corner, and piled on the third towards the end of the first half, converting a penalty corner with a nice flick under the crossbar. Pakistan were helplessly adrift in this phase, seemingly without any structure or game plan, and they just could not contain the excellently disposed Brits.
After the break, the Greenshirts caught on for a while, making good use of a temporary slip in concentration by their opponents to put away two goals. Shakeel Abbasi got Pakistan's first, tapping a pin-point cross from Muhammad Zubair over the line. After being unable to make any use of a period of being one man up when British captain Ben Hawes picked up a yellow card, Muhammad Waqas took full advantage of a mistake by Ben Marsden to get Pakistan within striking distance, 2-3.
The pressure was now full on, and it looked like Pakistan might well pull off a turnaround as stunning as the Australian women's yesterday, but Matt Daly soon moved them into the safety zone with a slap into the net off a penalty corner rebound.
Great Britain thus start the tournament on a high note, booking three important points in the race for the top of the table in the men's pool B, and with a boost of confidence after a performance that was very good over most of the seventy minutes. Pakistan on the other hand were far from convincing today, apart from a fifteen-minute phase that yielded their two goals, and will have to re-think their game strategy.
New Zealand defeat Korea 1:3 (1:0)
In the match between Korea and New Zealand, which may well prove crucial at the final count, things started off well for the Koreans. The current Asian Champions scored early in the match through Nam Yong Lee, who slapped the rebound off a Jong Hyun Jang penalty corner flick over goalkeeper Paul Woolford, and dominated the first half in an impressive manner.
They were unable however to translate their superiority into goals, and paid dearly for it in the second half, where Hayden Shaw, the Blacksticks penalty corner superstar, took charge and singlehandedly secured the win for his side with three almost identical goals, putting cracking flicks under the crossbar.
Korea had started off into the second half on the wrong foot it seemed, and with every goal, things went further downhill, until the final whistle went, indicating a disappointing loss for the Asians against a side ranked considerably lower than them in a match in which they should have and could have sealed the deal in the first half.
This defeat seriously compromises the Koreans' aspirations for the semifinals, while for New Zealand, it was a dream start to walk away with three important points in pool A.
Australia defeat Canada 6:1 (3:0)
Top ranked team Australia showed that they were serious about defending their Olympic title by soundly defending low ranked Canada 6-1.
The Aussies weathered patiently the initial Canadian efforts then suddenly scored two goals in less than one minute to clearly mark their territory. Two swift runs by Eddie OCKENDEN, then Jamie DWYER, both found Des ABBOTT unmarked in front of the Canadian keeper, who had no chance to prevent these two superb goals. Shortly after, Fergus KAVANAGH was prompt to pounce on a ball that the Canadian could not control to establish a comfortable 3-0 lead. At the end of the half, Jamie DWYER needed to be evacuated on a stretcher after a collision at full speed with a Canadian defender.
Canada pulled back a goal by Peter SHORT early in second half, after some good work by Ranjeev DEOL in a crowded circle, but the Canadians could not prevent the Aussies to score 3 more goals by Eddie OCKENDEN, Grant SCHUBERT and Des ABBOTT again, for the first hat-trick of this Olympic competition.
Australia played the whole second half without Jamie DWYER, but it was a relief to see him come back on the field at the hand to shake hands, apparently OK for the remainder of the competition.
Spain defeat Belgium 4:2 (2:1)
Belgium were brushed aside by an Spanish outfit bang in form and determined to finally claim that elusive Olympic Gold medal here at the Beijing 2008 Games. It took just 8 minutes for Spain to take the lead, when the ever-reliable Pol AMAT scored from open play, with Santi FREIXA getting goal number two in the 20th minute.
Belgium managed to pull a goal back in the 28th minute thanks to a superb deflection from Jerome TRUYENS, guiding his shot past unsighted Spain keeper Francisco CORTES. Shortly after half time Spain moved into a 3-1 lead when Xavier RIBAS scored a trademark penalty corner in the 41st minute, with Victor SOJO making it four for Spain eight minutes later.
European Bronze medallists Belgium reduced the deficit in the 63rd minute thanks to Jerome DEKEYSER, but the points were safe for a Spanish team with great ambition.
Netherlands defeat South Africa 5:0 (2:0)
The Netherlands had not problem in their game against lower ranked team South Africa. They let the South African do all the running in first half, only playing occasionally at full pace to earn three penalty-corners, two of them expertly converted by Taeke TAEKEMA.
The same pattern prevailed in second half, with South Africa working hard but unable to really threaten the experienced Dutch defense. The Netherlands accelerated sporadically, scoring three more field goals by Laurence DOCHERTY, Jeroen HERTZBERGER and Matthijs BROUWER.
Like Australia, the Netherlands have yet to be tested in this Olympic competition.
2008 Olympic Games, Men - Beijing, China
Results Monday August 11
Germany – China 4:1 (1:1)
CHN NA Yubo (FG) 7min
GER Christopher ZELLER (PC) 21min
GER Florian KELLER (FG) 43min
GER Florian KELLER (PC) 54min
GER Carlos NEVADO (FG) 68min
Pakistan - Great Britain 1:3 (0:3)
GBR James TINDALL (FG) 1min
GBR Rob MOORE (FG) 14min
GBR Ashley JACKSON (PC) 28min
PAK Shakeel ABBASI (FG) 47min
PAK Muhammad WAQAS (FG) 59min
Korea - New Zealand 1-3 (1:0)
KOR Nam Yong LEE (PC) 12min
NZL Hayden SHAW (PC) 43min
NZL Hayden SHAW (PC) 57min
NZL Hayden SHAW (PC) 64min
Australia - Canada 6:1 (3:0)
AUS Des ABBOTT (FG) 15min
AUS Des ABBOTT (FG) 16min
AUS Fergus KAVANAGH (FG) 22min
CAN Peter SHORT (FG) 38min
AUS Eddie OCKENDEN (FG) 48min
AUS Des ABBOTT (FG) 54min
AUS Grant SCHUBERT (FG) 57min
Spain - Belgium 4:2 (2:1)
ESP Pol AMAT (FG) 8min
ESP Santiago FREIXA (FG) 20min
BEL Jerome TRUYENS (FG) 26min
ESP Xavier RIBAS (PC) 41min
ESP Victor SOJO (FG) 49
BEL Jerome DEKEYSER (PC) 63min
Netherlands - South Africa 5:0 (2:0)
NED Taeke TAEKEMA (PC) 4min
NED Taeke TAEKEMA (PC) 35min
NED Laurence DOCHERTY (FG) 44min
NED Jeroen HERTZBERGER (FG) 47min
NED Matthijs BROUWER (FG) 66min
For more information go to www.worldhockey.org/olympics
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