Last week already, the Spanish men hosted Ireland in the city of Santander. Spain won the first of the of a three match series on Tuesday, but Ireland surprised the London bound Iberians on Thursday, snatching a 3-2 win through goals by Conor Harte, Drew Carlisle, and David Carson. The final match last Friday ended 5-2 in favor of the hosts with doubles from Gabi Dabanch and Pau Quemada plus one goal from captain Santi Freixa.
Also last week, Pakistan travelled to Belgium, and the two teams met on Monday with the Red Panthers logging a resounding 6-1 win against their Asian guests. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Greenshirts challenged Germany, booking a surprise 4-3 win on Wednesday, but recording a 0-2 defeat on Thursday. Wednesday's victory came courtesy of Sohail Abbas, who boasted a 100% conversion rate on short corners in a match that otherwise saw Pakistan play an extremely defensive tactic that caught Germany on the wrong foot. By the next day however, the world number 2 had adapted to their opponents, avoided the dreaded corner and could well have booked a higher margin win.
The German women followed the Investec Cup up with two tests against the Australian women last week Tuesday and Wednesday, still in London. Both matches went to the Germans, who won the first encounter 2-1 and the second 3-1, the last chance the German players had to impress coach Michi Behrmann before the Olympic squad was announced a day later.
Last Sunday, the Dutch and Belgian men played a 3x25 minute test match in Zoetermeer that saw the Dutch home team come out on top. Mink van der Weerden and Billy Bakker got their team two goals ahead in the first third, and Taeke Taekema piled another on from a short corner midway through the second third for the 3-0 lead. A last minute short corner conversion by Tom Boon gave the Belgians a consolation goal, but the Netherlands were the deserved winner in the encounter.
USA Field Hockey is currently hosting the Argentine women's team, a visit that includes four clashes between the two dominating teams in Panamerican women's hockey. Monday's first encounter saw the teams draw 1-1 at the University of Virginia, while the two matches hosted by Old Dominion University had the USA come out ahead on Wednesday with a 2-1 win, and Argentina secure a 3-0 victory on Thursday. The two teams, who will meet in London's Pool A later this summer, play a last test match in the course of this tour tomorrow Saturday. However, in interpreting the results, it is worth remembering that the Argentine team in the USA is not their top squad, with the roster missing a number of key players such as Luciana Aymar, Carla Rebecchi, Rosario Lucchetti, Silvina d'Elia, and the Sruoga sisters.
The Chinese women are preparing their Olympic campaign in the Netherlands this week. In two test matches on the "Olympic blue" pitch of club Upward on Wednesday and yesterday, the guests could not seriously challenge the world number 1, taking 1-4 and 0-5 defeats. Yesterday's second test was a special occasion for Dutch striker Marilyn Agliotti, who celebrated her 100th cap - for the Netherlands that is, which comes on top of the 75 caps she collected as a member of the Southafrican team before moving to Europe. The two sides, another pairing of Pool A contenders in London, meet for a further two test matches on Saturday and Sunday, this time on the field of club Kampong in Utrecht.
The New Zealand men are in Australia for a three match series in Cairns. The first encounter between the Black Sticks and the Kookaburras - world number 1 top contender for Olympic gold - ended 6-1 in favor of the Aussies earlier today, with the remaining matches scheduled for Saturday and Monday.
And finally, the ERGO Masters tournament has gotten underway in Düsseldorf, a high calibre 4 Nations event featuring the men's teams of Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, and Spain. The first round of matches yesterday saw the Netherlands defeat Belgium 3-0, while the German hosts recorded a comfortable 6-3 win over Spain, with 3 goals scored by Christopher Zeller. The competition continues tomorrow Saturday with Belgium taking on Germany, and Spain meeting the Netherlands, and concludes on Sunday with Belgium clashing with Spain, and the classic Netherlands v Germany.
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ENGLAND: We’re delighted to announce that England Hockey’s Chief Executive Sally Munday has been awarded an MBE...