England – Germany 4-1 (3-1 halftime)
After suffering a surprising loss against India yesterday, #4 England was looking for redemption today against World #1 Germany and got it with a clear 4-1 victory. It was the first-ever win for England against Germany at the Champions Trophy. Previously Germany had won 15 games and four meetings ended in a draw.
The gamehad it all. Not one, but two, own-goals, end-to-end action and even a rare red card as the two young teams were eager to usher in a new generation for both national teams.
England wasted no time setting the tone, scoring two field goals in the first nine minutes. Adam Dixon netted just his third international goal to open the striking six minutes into action and Harry Martin followed up four minutes later by finishing off a well-executed breakout.
England continued to look strong, but the Germans had a piece of luck when the English scored an own goal when the ball was deflected in off the stick of Richard Smith to give Germany a glimmer of hope and cut the lead in half. But lady luck laughed in the face of the Germans in the last two minutes of the half when they scored an own goal to give England a 3-1 lead. Henry Weir shot the ball, but it ultimately went in off Mats Grambusch.
After the screwball first half, things settled down, for at least a little while. Germany desperately made a bid to cut into the England lead, but their efforts fell short. Tempers started to flare as there was no love lost between the squads. In total, nine cards were issued in the game, including four green, four yellows and a red. Niklas Grell was sent off with 15 minutes left with a yellow-red, leaving the Germans shorthanded and down by two goals and ultimately killing any thoughts of a late comeback.
England poured a little salt on the German wound, when Darren Cheesman scored a late goal to bring the final to 4-1.
Notes: The game was the 200th cap for German captain Moritz Fuerste, who has won two Olympic gold medals with Team Germany and is one of only three players in Melbourne that was on the golden team in London.
New Zealand - India 2-4 (1-3 half-time)
The Indians continued to be the surprise team at the 2012 Champions Trophy after earning their second win in as many games thanks to a 4-2 victory against New Zealand. India, the lowest-ranked team at the tournament at #11 was clearly the better side against #6 New Zealand.
The Indians got off to an ominous start, scoring an own goal early into action to give New Zealand a 1-0 lead. But India was quick to atone for the miscue, firing in two consecutive goals coming four minutes apart to climb ahead to a 2-1 lead. Akashdeep Singh netter the first goal on a picture perfect effort and Gurwinder Singh Chani followed up by popping the ball between the legs of New Zealand goalie Devon Manchester in the 14th minute.
India built on its lead with 10 minutes left in the half when Raghunath VR deflected in a penalty corner shot to open up a 3-1 advantage.
New Zealand wasted no time in the second half getting back into the game. Nicholas Wilson fired in a shot from point blank range just two minutes into the half to make it a 3-2 affair. After the goal, India owned the second half, but Manchester stood his ground in net and kept the Indians from building on their lead for most of the half.
It wasn't until the 65th minute that India could breathe easy when Danish Mujtaba deflected in the critical 4-2 marker, sealing India's second win.
India is now the only squad in the eight-team Champions Trophy field that has two wins in its first two games, making Tuesday's preliminary round finale an exciting day of hockey action with everything possible for quarterfinal placement.
Netherlands – Australia 0-0 (0-0 halftime)
Australia learned an important lesson today against the Netherlands. When you come up against a hot goalkeeper, no amount of spectacular hockey can save the day. And so in the a key game in Pool B with the two top teams, Australia had to settle for a 0-0 draw despite playing a solid 70 minutes of hockey.
The two teams are familiar foes, it was a meeting between the 2011 Champions Trophy gold (AUS) and bronze (NED) medalists, and the London 2012 Olympic silver (AUS) and bronze medalists (NED). In this meeting the teams lived up to their medal status, as it was a show of skill and athleticism.
Goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann was the man of the hour for the Dutch. His acrobatic saves single-handedly stymied the Australian offense, including stopping near double-digit penalty corner chances.
There was no shortage of action in the first half as the teams treated the crowd to end-to-end action that featured multiple scoring chances. Stockmann definitely saw more of the action in the first half as the Aussies spent much of the half testing him. Stockmann made his mark late in the half when he made three consecutive saves on Christopher Ciriello drag flicks.
Stockmann opened the second half right where he left off, thwarting the Australians, who became more persistent in their attack on the Dutch net. Australia continued to generate penalty corner opportunities, but could not find the back of the net, often shooting wide in a bid to beat Stockmann.
As time wound down, the Australian crowd watched in disbelief as their team had to settled for a a scoreless draw, despite the hard-fought, dominant performance of the Aussies. It was only the eighth-ever scoreless game in Champions Trophy history.
Belgium – Pakistan: 0-2 (0-0 halftime)
After strong efforts that left them empty handed yesterday, both Pakistan and Belgium were looking for redemption – and to pick up their first points – when they met today at the 2012 Champions Trophy in Pool B action. In the end, Pakistan came away with the bragging rights, and three points, after a close 2-0 win.
Pakistan’s game plan was clear – to apply pressure to the Belgian defense and press forward at every opportunity. The plan created a handful of dynamic scoring chances, but ultimately, the Pakistan players got a little too fancy once they were in the D and couldn’t make the opportunities count.
On the other side, Belgium seemed content to play a more passive role with its scoring chances coming few and far between.
Pakistan was finally rewarded for its offensive efforts when Abdul Haseem Khan scored on a breakout firing the shot high into the net with 15 minutes left in the game. After the Pakistan goal, Belgium came to life and even pulled its goalkeeper, but despite having its best chances all game, Belgium could not get on the board. With the goalie out of net, Pakistan was able to put in a late insurance marker with 45 seconds left to secure the 2-0 victory.
Meanwhile, Belgium, in its Champions Trophy debut, is still after its first-ever points at the top-level men’s event after suffering two tough losses in its first two outings here in Melbourne.
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