Owen G Glenn Champions Trophy Auckland 2011
Auckland, New Zealand - December 3 - 11, 2011


CT: Big guns set early pace on opening day

December 3, 2011
Australia, Great Britain, Germany & Netherlands all victorious on Day 1

Australia, Great Britain, Germany and The Netherlands all recorded victories on the opening day of Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy, which is taking place in Auckland, New Zealand. Australia and Great Britain lead the way in Pool A after hard earned victories over Spain and Pakistan respectively, while Pool B is headed by Germany and The Netherlands, winners against New Zealand and Korea. 

Full reports on all the matches can be found below, with extensive tournament information available by clicking here.  

Highlights from the Champions Trophy and Champions Challenge tournament in South Africa can be seen here: http://www.fih.livesport.tv/vod 

Dwyer double gives Austalia victory against Spain
Pool A - Australia 3-2 Spain

Two goals from Australian superstar Jamie Dwyer helped the Kookaburras claim a 3-2 victory against Spain in a hugely entertaining opening match at the Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy in Auckland, New Zealand.  

Australia began the first half with a clear intent of asserting their authority over a Spanish team that has struggled for form in recent months. It took the Kookaburras just over ten seconds to win the first penalty corner of the match, but the attempted drag-flick from Chris Ciriello failed to trouble Spain keeper Francisco Cortez. Despite this chance, it was Spain that went closest to opening the scoring through Roc Oliva, who rattled the frame of the goal with a smart deflection.

Kookaburras captain Jamie Dwyer gave his team the lead in the tenth minute, slotting home from close range after some smart play from Eddie Ockenden down the right. Although Australia were fully deserving of their lead, the Spanish had already shown glimpses that they were more than capable of giving their illustrious opponents a run for their money.   They hit back with two goals in less than three first half minutes, both of which were the result of Australia losing possession in their own half. Gabriel Dabanch pulled Spain level with a chipped finish from a tight angle before Edi Tubau burst into the circle before crashing a fierce strike into the bottom left corner to turn the match on its head.

Australia were rattled, but regained their composure and hit back early in the second half. Again it was that man Jamie Dwyer, with the brilliant attacker showing exactly why he is a four time winner of the FIH Player of the Year award when he flicked into the roof of the Spanish net.

Spain’s Tubau almost re-established the lead for his team when he weaved his way into the circle before forcing a superb save from Australia keeper Andrew Charter. It proved to be a pivotal moment in the match, as Australia went in search of the winning goal. With six minutes of the match remaining, Spain conceded a penalty corner which was eventually dispatched by Des Abbott who slammed a loose ball into the roof of the goal. Spain rallied hard in the dying minutes of the match, but Ric Charlesworth’s team held on to secure victory.

More information on the match can be found by clicking here.

Mantell late show sinks Pakistan
Pool A: Great Britain 2-1 Pakistan

Great Britain made a solid start to their Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy campaign by recording a 2-1 win over Pakistan in Auckland, New Zealand.

Pakistan went into half time with a 1-0 lead thanks an expertly dispatched penalty corner flick from Muhammad Imran, but Great Britain hit back shortly after the break when 34-year-old Mark Pearn scored his first Champions Trophy goal in ten years. The winning goal came from the stick of Simon Mantell, who volleyed home a penalty corner from close range with just five minutes of the match remaining.

The result puts the Brits level on points with Australia, who were winners in the first match of the day against Spain. Great Britain will look to continue their winning ways when the face Australia on Sunday, while Pakistan will take on a Spain side that was narrowly defeated by the Kookaburras earlier in the day.

The first half of the match was played at breakneck speed, with the action switching rapidly from one end to the other. Both sides saw early penalty corner efforts sail wide of the target, with Pakistan’s Muhammad Imran and Mark Gleghorne also going close with set piece efforts.

Pakistan took the lead with five minutes remaining in the first half. With legendary drag-flicker Sohail Abbas not on the field, the opportunity to flick at goal was given once again to Muhammad Imran who found the bottom left corner with a ferocious effort.

Great Britain almost found an equalizer before the break when 2009 FIH Young Player of the Year Ashley Jackson sent a penalty corner drag-flick arcing towards the top corner, but a solid save from Salman Akbar ensured that Pakistan would go into half time with their 1-0 lead very much intact.

The British team started the second half in fine form, and it seemed only a matter of time before they would pull themselves level. The equalizer arrived in the 42nd minute when Mark Pearn – a player who recently returned to international competition after a six year absence – found the goal from the tightest of angles. Although Pearn was the scorer, his goal was created by some superb build-up play by Jackson and 2010 FIH All Star Barry Middleton.

Pakistan’s best chance of the second half arrived in the 62nd minute of the game when Abdul Haseem Khan turned inside his marker  and entered the circle, but his powerful reverse stick shot sailed fractionally over the crossbar.

The winning goal arrived in the 66th minute thanks to a penalty corner conversion from Simon Mantell. Although Mantell’s initial effort from the top of the circle was blocked, the striker was on hand to volley in from close range following a perfect pass from Ashley Jackson. The win will give Great Britain great confidence ahead of Sunday’s meeting with world champions Australia.   

More information on the match can be found by clicking here.


Hosts Blacksticks edged out by Germany
Germany 2-1 New Zealand

Host nation New Zealand fell to a narrow 2-1 defeat against Germany in the third match of the Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy, but the sell-out crowd saw enough from the home team to know that they are far from going to make up the numbers in this tournament. The score was locked at 1-1 for long periods of this Pool B encounter, until Christopher Wesley broke through with ten minutes of the match remaining, putting an end to a four match losing streak.

Germany blasted out of the blocks in the first half, and almost took the lead after just three minutes when a trademark penalty corner drag-flick from Jan-Marco Montag hit the post before Benjamin Wess fired the rebound wide of the target. New Zealand were forced onto the backfoot for much of the opening stages, and eventually the pressure told when Thilo Stralkowski netted following a superb pass from Christoph Menke.

Despite concede early, the Black Sticks fans knew that their team were more than capable of getting themselves back into the game. Their faith was soon rewarded when Hugo Inglis threw himself towards a fine pass from Simon Child and managed to guide the ball past Germany keeper Nico Jacobi.

Inglis went close to grabbing a second toward the end of the first half when he fired towards goal, but this time Jacobi got the better of the 20 year old attacker.

The latter stages of the first half and the early parts of the second were dominated by Germany, who had numerous penalty corners but failed to beat the outstanding Kyle Pontifex. Even a green card to midfield dynamo and reigning FIH Young Player of the Year Tobias Hauke failed to knock them out of their stride. However, despite their possession, they struggled to find a way past a resilient black Sticks defensive line.  

With ten minutes of the match remaining, Germany scored what proved to be the winning goal when Christopher Wesley sneaked ahead of his marker and deflected Jan Philipp Rabente’s pass into the roof of the goal. The home fans cheered their team until the very end, but in the end Germany were worthy winners.

On Sunday, New Zealand will do battle with Korea at 16:05 (GMT +12) before Germany face perennial rivals The Netherlands at 18:05. 
 More information about the game can be found by clicking here. 


Taekema on target as Dutch defeat Korea
The Netherlands 2-0 Korea

The Netherlands proved themselves to be too strong for opponents Korea in the final match of the day here in Auckland, with the Dutch running out 2-0 winners in their first Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy contest.  Legendary drag flicker Taeke Taekema scored a first half penalty corner with Billy Bakker putting the result beyond doubt with a second 16 minutes from the end of the game.

As well as being the perfect start to the Dutch ambitions of winning their first Men’s Champions Trophy title since Terrassa in 2006, it was also a day when three players reached significant milestones.   Netherlands defender Wouter Jolie played his 100th international match; Teun de Nooijer became the first player in Champions Trophy history to play 90 matches and Taeke Taekema moved his record Champions Trophy goals haul to an incredible 46.

The Netherlands were the dominant force in the first half, despite being without star attacker Jeroen Hertzberger, who was rested due to a slight hamstring injury. It mattered little as the Dutch took charge of the match with disciplined defending and incisive attacking. Taekema stepped up to the mark to score the opening goal of the game in the seventh minute, with his flicked effort giving Korean keeper Kim Jae Hyeon little chance of saving.

Korea were arguably the better team in the second period, and went close to leveling the scores on numerous occasions. Jang Kyu Yeob missed from close range before ace striker Seo Jong Ho sent a low flick just wide of the right post from a narrow angle.

With Korea pressing high there was always the possibility of The Netherlands capitalizing on a counter-attack, which is exactly what happened in the 54th minute. A quick pass forward found Billy Bakker, who surged into the circle and cracked a reverse stick shot under the body of goalkeeper Kim to seal victory for the Dutchmen.

More information about the game can be found by clicking here. 


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