A convincing 6-1 victory over New Zealand and a promise from coach Markus Weise that "we still want to improve" demonstrates the uncompromising approach that Germany is adopting towards this inaugural tournament. Meanwhile England broke the hearts of the Indian spectators by beating the host team 2-0.
Alex Shaw summed up the Black Stick's feelings: "Days like this are hard. Germany took all their chances and we didn't. We knew it was going to be tough, but they played very well."
Meanwhile, the Hero Man of the Match winner and one of the goal scorers, Tobias Hauke, said: "We didn't know how good we were going to be today. This is the first time this year we have had a chance to play together."
Germany’s Christopher Wesley scored the opening goal with less than 20 seconds played, but the Blacksticks were not rocked at all and equalised through a penalty corner goal from Kane Russell (5’).
This time Germany provided an immediate answer thanks to Thilo Stralkowski (11’) netting from Germany’s first penalty corner. Gradually the Olympic champions took control of the match and Florian Fuchs (31’), FIH Young Player of the Year 2012, deflected a penalty corner flick from Martin Häner to extend the German lead to 3-1.
The second half saw Germany becoming the dominant side. In a five-minute spell Germany extended their lead by a further three goals. Stralkowski (44’) added another penalty corner goal, one minute later Tobias Hauke (45’) scored from open play to make it 5-1, then Jan-Philipp Rabente (48’) put his name on the score sheet.
Throughout the match, the Blacksticks tried to play expansive and open hockey but just found their opponents too strong on the day.
In the second Pool A match, a noisy crowd urged the home crowd to victory over England, but despite some inventive work by the midfield, India were unable to turn better possession percentages into goals.
Adam Dixon was the England hero as he scored twice from penalty corners and picked up the Hero Man of the Match award. India were aggrieved to have a goal disallowed following a video referral in the 58th minute.
In the press conference following the match, India coach Terry Walsh said he was relatively pleased with his team’s performance. "I was particularly pleased with some elements. We were pressing better, we ran incisively and our fitness was equal to England's, but we weren't able to make in-roads into the circle. Our on-field discipline was not as good as it could have been."
In tomorrow's Pool A matches England will face Germany and India will play New Zealand.
Follow the action on the FIH event site.
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