On Day 1 of the EuroHockey Indoor Championships, an exciting 16 matches saw the home teams of the German men and women emerge as favorites for the finals, while the Dutch women have already booked their ticket after defeating Austria and Ukraine. The men's pool B is the only pool in the event in which all teams can still reach the semi-finals, with the Czech Republic meeting the Netherlands, and Russia taking on England in Saturday's defining last round of pool play.
The hosts's men's team started their bid for the title with a difficult encounter with title holders Austria, but were able to wrestle down their small neighbours 2-1 after initially falling behind. Their second match left no open questions however, as the Germans scored nine goals against Switzerland in the last match of the day. After a cautious start, during which the Swiss held their own against the World Champions, the hosts ran away with the match after the break, and left another smaller neighbouring country with their heads in their hands.
The German women had a more difficult opening day, but came out on top twice as well, defeating the Czech Republic 5-3 and booking a difficult but all the more valuable 2-1 win against the fiercely fighting Spanish girls after trailing by a goal after 7 minutes.
The current champions, the Austrian men and Ukrainian women, had differing starts to their campaigns: Austria narrowly lost to big title favorits Germany, but followed the defeat up with a convincing 6-1 win over Spain which put them in second place in the men's pool A, while the Ukraine struggled in their opener against Belarus, salvaging only one point, followed by a 3-7 defeat at the hands of the strong Dutch women's team, which sees the Ukraine carry the red flag in the women' pool A.
Despite Belarus' fair to middling start, Yuliya Mikheichik leads the topscorer list, having scored 5 of Belarus' total 6 goals, two goals ahead of Poland's Aleksandra Bugala, Spain's Nuria Camon, the Netherlands' Karin van Ouden and the Ukraine's illustrious captain Maryna Vynohradova.
On the men's side, Matthias Witthaus leads the pack with four goals - all of the scored in Germany's 9-2 avalanche victory against Switzerland, followed by a group of four players on three goals each: Manuel Grandits from Austria, Ashley Jackson from England, Jorge Rodriguez from Spain and Timmo Kranstauber from the Netherlands.
Pool A Men
1. Germany - 6 points - 11:3 goals
2. Austria - 3 points - 7:3 goals
3. Spain - 3 points - 7:7 goals
4. Switzerland - 0 points - 3:15 goals
Spain - Switzerland 6:1 (3:1)
Austria - Germany 1:2 (1:0)
Austria - Spain 6:1 (3:0)
Netherlands - Russia 2:3 (1:0)
Pool B Men
1. Czech Republic - 4 points - 3:2 goals
2. Netherlands - 3 points - 9:8 goals
3. Russia - 3 points - 4:4 goals
4. England - 1 points - 6:8 goals
Russia - Czech Republic 1:2 (1:2)
England - Netherlands 5:7 (3:3)
Czech Republic - England 1:1 (0:0)
Germany - Switzerland 9:2 (3:2)
Pool A Women
1. Netherlands - 6 points - 10:5 goals
2. Austria - 3 points - 5:5 goals
3. Belarus - 1 point - 6:7 goals
4. Ukraine - 1 point - 7:11 goals
Ukraine - Belarus 4:4 (4:3)
Netherlands - Austria 3:2 (1:2)
Belarus - Austria 2:3 (2:1)
Netherlands - Ukraine 7:3 (3:3)
Pool B Women
1. Germany - 6 points - 7:4 goals
2. Poland - 3 points - 9:6 goals
3. Spain - 3 points - 6:6 goals
4. Czech Republic - 0 points - 4:10 goals
Spain - Poland 5:4 (1:2)
Germany - Czech Republic 5:3 (3:1)
Poland - Czech Republic 5:1 (2:1)
Germany - Spain 2:1 (2:1)
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