Canada 3 Malaysia 1
Canada opened their campaign in style with a comfortable victory in energy-sapping heat thanks to two superb second-half goals by Sukhwinder Singh and Iain Smythe who sealed the win after the sides turned round at 1-1.
Scott Tupper shot Canada ahead from his team’s second penalty corner with Amin Rahim levelling two minutes before the break with a powerful drag flick. As both teams searched for the winner, Singh hammered in a scorching from the circle edge and Smythe deflected in a pass from Rob Short.
Veteran international Short said he thought it was a good display but not beautiful adding: “We have to learn to win ugly and I thought it was a very tight team performance with some excellent defending”
Coach Robin D’Abreo added: “It was great to start with a win especially as ranking points are at stake.” Looking ahead to the team’s next match against Pan-American rivals Argentina he said: “They’re a strong squad and we need to come in with a strong performance.”
Argentina 2 Japan 2
Lucas Argento Innocente spared Argentina’s blushes when he equalised five minutes from time to help his side snatch a point.
After going a goal behind in the 13th minute when Hernan Cammareri put away a simple chance, Japan hit back to level midway through the second-half when Katsuyoshi Nagasawa powered in a drag flick from their only penalty corner with Toshiro Tachibana making it 2-1 after taking advantage of some poor marking.
Argentina assistant coach Jorge Lombi said he was pleased with result considering five new players had come in to the squad. He added:” It takes time for them settle in. We created enough chances to score more goals but only forced one penalty corner. However, it’s more important how you finish a tournament, not how you start.”
India3 Belgium 3
Xavier Reckinger hammered in a last gasp penalty corner rebound as Belgium grabbed a late point in a pulsating contest against the eight-time Olympic champions.
The European side led at half-time but the match came alive after the break as India struck twice in four minutes to lead 2-1. And in a frenzied last quarter and as the game swung from end to end, Belgium levelled only to go 3-2 down in the 57th minute when Vokkaliga Raghunath swept in a penalty corner.
India’s coach, the Australia-born coach Michael Nobbs, said he was happy with his team’s showing saying: “We played a lot of good stuff but there’s a bit to do ahead of our next match against South Africa.”
South Africa 3 Poland 1
Justin Reid-Ross delighted the home crowd when he whipped in a penalty corner goal in each half to help set his side make a winning start.
Poland were slow to get in to their stride after only arriving on Friday and with six players and the goalkeepers missing their luggage it was hardly ideal preparation. Trailing 2-0 at half-time, the Poles hit back after the break reducing the deficit at a penalty corner.
Gregg Clark, the South Africa coach, thought his team should have wrapped up the game in the first half considering all the scoring opportunities they created. He said: ”I’m happy with three points but we left plenty out there. All credit to Poland’s goalkeeper – he’s a quality act.”
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