All the news for Tuesday 31 July 2012
London 2012 Olympic Games - Hockey Competition Results
Monday 30 July 2012
Pool Time Match Result
B 08:30 Korea vs. New Zealand 2-0
A 10:45 Australia vs. South Africa 6-0
A 13.45 Spain vs. Pakistan 1-1
B 16:00 Netherlands vs. India 3-2
A 19:00 Great Britain vs. Argentina 4-1
B 21:15 Germany vs. Belgium 2-1
Middleton double does for Argentina
Australia hit South Africa for six; Spain held back by Pakistan
2012 Olympic Games (men), London (Photo: Treeby images)
Great Britain vs Argentina 4-1 (1-0 half-time)
Great Britain made their opening statement of intent as they battered their way to an opening group win, running riot in the second half to beat Argentina in a bruising affair, pock-marked with sin-binnings. Ashley Jackson’s sleight of hand played its part in killing off of the tie, creating goals for Barry Middleton and a first international strike for Dan Fox before Richard Smith’s drag-flick found its way in.
It added to Middleton’s first half punch-shot, putting GB 4-0 up before Pedro Ibarra got a late consolation from a corner, earned by Lucas Vila’s review. A slew of early, niggly fouls set the tone for a muscular game, both sides hyped up for the battle. Matt Daly thought he had given his side an early lead, fishing the ball out of Juan Manuel Vivaldi’s pads and netting in the fifth minute but a review denied a goal, the ball brushing his body in the act.
Physical tackles were very much in vogue and Ignacio Bergner was the first to go for a break. During his two-minute absence, Barry Middleton pounced, rebounding superbly off Vivaldi after Richard Smith’s initial drag-flick was palmed into his path. Vivaldi denied Jackson in the next phase while Argentina’s best chance fell to Facundo Callioni but a combination of James Fair and Iain Lewers forced him wide.
The same man was denied just after the break, ramping Agustin Mazilli’s powerful pass into Fair’s midriff. But Great Britain were always the more powerful force, probing the baselines and they hit the front when Jackson’s slip of the wrists opened up Middleton’s route for his second, albeit through Vivaldi’s legs. Again, Jackson’s quick thinking played in Fox for a truly brilliant team goal, a pitch length breakaway which the GB man gleefully pummelled home. Smith’s low drag made it three goals in 12 minutes and an unassailable lead, only sullied by Ibarra's low corner.
For more info on GBR vs ARG, click here
Australia vs. South Africa: 6-0 (half-time: 2-0)
Jamie Dwyer earned a hat trick, tying him with Mark Hager as Australia’s all-time leading scorer as he paced South Africa to a convincing 6-0 victory against South Africa in today’s opening Pool A game. The game was a David vs. Goliath affair, with the Kookaburas ranked at the top of the FIH World Ranking and the Africans the lowest ranked team in the Olympic men’s tournament.
It did not take long for Jamie Dwyer to be dangerous, penetrating the circle and arriving alone in front of Erasmus Pieterse in the South African goal, who managed the save but conceded a penalty-corner. The South Africans survived the initial flurries of Australian attacks and play became more balanced for awhile.
Australia earned a penalty-stroke in the 16th minute after a pinball sequence in the South African circle, the ball hitting sticks, posts and players. Jamie Dwyer cleanly slotted the ball out of Pietere’s reach to open the scoring. The Australians then had a string of near misses; including a one-on-one chance by Kieran Govers.
It was once again Dwyer who got the offense going, offering a splendid pass to Matthew Butturini with an easy tap-in for the 2-0 lead. Although the South Africans were clearly pushed back on their heels during most of the half, the score was only 2-0 at the break.
South Africa played well at the beginning of second half, displaying strong individual skills and swift combinations, but Australia opened an insurmountable lead with two rapid fire penalty-corner goals, from Christopher Ciriello and Dwyer.
Dwyer completed his hat-trick with ten minutes left, scoring on another penalty-stroke after been taken down by Pieterse in the circle. The goal moved Dwyer level with Mark Hager as the top Australian all-time goal scorer.
South Africa ran out of steam in the final stages of the match and could not deal any more with wave after wave of Kookaburas attacks. Glenn Turner added a final goal and Australia comfortably bagged the three points.
For more information on AUS v RSA, click here.
Spain vs. Pakistan: 1-1 (half-time: 0-0)
Silver medallists from Beijing Spain, ranked 5th in the FIH World Rankings, opened their 2012 Olympic campaign against Pakistan, ranked 3 rows behind them. It took the two teams a while to settle down, with many turn-overs and unforced errors on both sides in the opening 10 minutes. The first chance was for Pakistan on penalty-corner, and Sohail Abbas, the master in this exercise, nearly hit the target, his powerful flick barely deflected on the crossbar by Francisco Cortes in the Spanish goal.
Spain was equally unsuccessful a few minutes later at the other end, with Pakistan salvaged by a superb stick save on the line by Muhammad Irfan. Neither team could take control of play, making for an exciting match with attacks flowing swiftly back and forth. Spain tried to develop collective moves, but the Pakistani were closing very quickly on them, leaving them no time to manoeuver. Pakistan used their speed to mount speedy counter-attacks and created good chances.
Spain had a tough time containing Pakistan in the closing stages of the period, but survived to reach half-time on a goalless score.
The contest got very heated in second period, with still nobody able to assume domination for a sustained period of time. Then the floodgates opened briefly and the crowd was treated to two splendid goals in less than one minute, first by Rehan Butt at the conclusion of a counter-attack that pierced the Spanish defense, then immediately after by Pau Quemada hammering in goal a long pass from midfield with a stunning reverse stick shot.
In the last 15 minutes, both teams had chances to make the break, but consistently struggled in the last pass or final shot. No more goals were scored and the match ended on a draw (1-1) which is a good result for Pakistan but might hurt Spain’s chances to reach the semi-finals.
For more information on AUS v RSA, click here.
Germany keep Belgium at bay
Netherlands see off India; solid start for Korea in Pool B
2012 Olympic Games (men), London (Photo: Treeby images)
Germany vs Belgium 2-1 (1-1, half-time)
Christopher Zeller’s 45th minute touch was just about enough to edge Germany past the post against Belgium in the final game of men’s day one to join Korea and the Netherlands on three points. They were decent value for the spoils but their inability to make more of their chances meant Belgium always had a sniff of a result they nearly nicked in a fractious second period.
Jerome Dekeyser’s beautiful whipped third minute penalty corner capped a brilliant opening for the red lions. Cedric Charlier almost had a second soon after when he pumped goalward and Max Weinhold could only half stop the shot. It bobbled around the goal line before Timo Wess managed to eventually clear before Gauthier Boccard could chip in.
But Germany discovered their mojo as time wore on, levelling at 1-1 when Jan Philipp Rabente stole in down the left baseline, finding Florian Fuchs, evading Vincent Vanasch in the process and rolling home. After a brief lull after a spectacular start, Germany – with Max Mueller exceptional in defence – began to turn the screw but despite chances for Thilo Stralkowski, Oilver Korn and Oskar Deecke, half time concluded 1-1.
The second half followed a similar pattern as Germany had many chances, Rabente miscuing a gilt-edged chance before Zeller finally weighed in. His touch was light enough to be missed initially by the umpires but a referral showed he had redirected past Vanasch. Xavier Reckinger took a Timo Wess drag off the line, too, while more scramble defence denied another corner before Belgium sensed an opportunity to pounce. Especially so when Simon Gougnard was sandwiched by a couple of defenders, allowing Tom Boon – recovered from a nasty first half injury – to have a late corner shot. His effort drew a massive cheer from his fans but had, in fact, slipped inches wide. It was their last chance and saw Germany off and running with all the points.
For more info on GER v BEL, click here
Netherlands vs India 3-2 (2-0 half-time)
Paul van Ass received an early piece of vindication for his decision to drop Taeke Taekema as his penalty corner team recorded a 100% strike rate that ultimately saw them home in their opening game against India. Mink van der Weerden’s rocket past the otherwise immaculate Bharat Kumar Chetri’s glove in the 51st minute stole the laurels, a direct drag-flick to match Roderick Weusthof’s earlier goal. It killed off what was a feisty comeback from the Asian side, recovering from two goals down at half time to level with two close range goals in quick succession.
Dharamvir Singh and Shivendra Singh, though, nipped in for 2-2 but Van Der Weerden’s beautiful effort proved the game’s defining moment. It was a tie made for entertainment as the two methods of attack – India’s direct, hard-running approach contrasted by the finesse of the Dutch’s methodical style – dove-tailing beautifully. Chances came thick and fast as VR Raghunath miscued a corner rebound before, at the opposite end, denying Billy Bakker with a full-length diving tackle. Teun de Nooijer – playing in his fifth Olympics – almost volleyed in an opening goal, a rasping drive brilliantly denied by Chetri’s knee.
During this phase, waves of Dutch attacks set in motion by Roderick Weusthof and Bod de Voogd were wreaking havoc and they eventually went ahead when Rob van der Horst came up from the back and cracked home off his open side in the 22nd minute. Weusthof doubled the lead though despite the best efforts of Manpreet Singh on the line from the Dutch team’s first corner. Rogier Hofman might have killed the game off early in the second half but his sweep-shot was amazingly tipped away by Chetri’s stick.
Four manic minutes, though, saw India back on terms as Jaap Stockmann stepped over what he thought was a harmless cross only for it to hit the inside of the post and Dharamvir Singh duly snapped up the loose ball. With Tushar Khandker and Gurwinder Singh Chandi to the fore, the leveller came soon after; Shivendra Singh nudging home the latter’s smart skills.
Van der Weerden’s riposted was quick in coming and, despite a glut of late drama, the Dutch held firm though they will be concerned by Rob Van Der Horst’s early departure with a leg injury. The match was Ignace Tirkey’s 250th international game while, for the Netherlands, Valentin Verga gained his 50th cap.
For more information on NED vs IND, click here
Korea vs New Zealand 2-0 (2-0 half-time)
The first match of the 2012 Olympic men's tournament promised to be a close contest between two close teams in the FIH world ranking (6th for Korea and 7th for New Zealand) and with similar international experience (average of 155 international Caps for Korea and 150 for New Zealand).
As expected, the match started with an intense battle for possession in the midfield, with neither team giving an inch. The Black Sticks tried to circulate the ball around the Koreans, who were tightly regrouped in defense and only sporadically pushing up with long balls for a high forward.
New Zealand goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex was called into action shortly after when a turn-over in midfield was promptly converted by Lee Nam Yong. Although not rich in goal chances, the intense tactical battle was fascinating and the near capacity crowd in Riverbank Arena watched in awe the display of individual and collective skills. The goal came after a green card to Nicholas Haig: Kang Moon Kyu played the free hit quickly and found You Hyo Sik for an unstoppable deflection in goal.
It took some wind out of the Black Sticks’ sails and the Koreans collectively moved higher on the field, leaving even less space for manoeuver in midfield. They pushed in the final minutes of the period and a hard cross from the left eluded everybody in the circle to find You Hyo Sik left unmarked on the far post for his second goal of the day and a comfortable two-goal lead for Korea going into the break.
Despite the support of the crowd, the New Zealanders seemed lost their initial intensity and the Koreans had the upper hand to open the second period. Pontifex needed to be sharp to fend off the Korean attempts from close range. The Black Sticks had to work hard to avoid conceding additional goals.
New Zealand had another flurry of chances with five minutes left on the clock, but Lee Myung Ho managed to dive left and right to protect the Korean goal. He was again well positioned a few minutes later to deflect a penalty-corner shot by Shea Mcaleese, and Korea could calmly weather the final minutes to end up with the win after a solid and impressive performance.
For more information on KOR vs NZL, click here
Spain's Freixa suffers Olympic-ending injury
Captain out for rest of Games with broken arm
Santiago Freixa comes off the pitch with a broken arm
The Spanish hockey Federation website today announced that Spanish captain Santiago Freixa is out of the Olympic tournament after suffering a broken arm in today’s game against Pakistan.
Freixa will be replaced by defenseman Andres Mir, who was named as one of two alternates for the Spanish national team in London.
Freixa was injured during the 1-1 draw against the Pakistanis and continued to play, although he was in obvious pain. After the match he was taken to the hospital for evaluation and it was determined that the fracture to the arm was too severe to allow him to continue in the tournament.
Losing Freixa is a big blow for the Spanish team. The stoic forward has 50 goals in more than 180 national team appearances, including earning the silver medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
Walsh's Games in the balance
By Graham Wilson
YOU could see in her eyes as she was led off the pitch that Great Britain hockey captain Kate Walsh feared the worst.
After being floored by a stick four minutes from the end of the 4-0 win over Japan at the Olympic Park on Sunday, Walsh tried to hide the pain with an ice-pack around her mouth.
And you can believe she only held back the tears for her team-mates’ sakes.
Walsh needed surgery and a plate to stabilise a fractured jaw but yesterday Team GB did not rule out her rejoining the squad.
This is her third Olympics and Walsh, 32, will fight every inch of the way to get back into the centre of defence. She is the rock in GB’s squad and a second penalty corner option to Crista Cullen.
Coach Danny Kerry could risk playing one player short, 15 against Korea today, and it will be up to his management and GB’s teamwork to raise the spirits and play for the time that Walsh desperately needs.
It is not so much the injury, but how long she needs to recover from the effects of the operation, said Team GB in a statement. “The injury itself is not expected to prevent Walsh from playing. Her recovery from the operation will be monitored and her participation will be reviewed following her return to the athletes’ village,” it said.
Kerry will have a contingency plan. In the recent Investec London Cup, Walsh, Cullen and Alex Danson – who scored twice against Japan – were ruled out, which sparked a revamp of the side with Laura Unsworth coming from right-half into central defence.
Then, he said his squad had to be aware of changes that might be forced on them because of injury. But this is a huge blow.
Canterbury’s Natalie Seymour is the named reserve who could be called in.
Kate Walsh's status day-to-day
GB captain undergoes surgery but hopes to return
Kate Walsh leads the GB team to the pitch for the team's Olympic opener. (Photo: Ady Kerry 07973 286863 01227 720085)
Team GB women’s hockey captain Kate Walsh has this morning (Monday) received treatment in hospital for a fractured mandible (jaw) which she sustained in the closing stages of Great Britain’s 4-0 victory over Japan on Sunday evening.
Walsh was accidentally hit on the left side of her jaw by a stick while making a tackle four minutes from the end of the match at the Riverbank Arena.
Walsh left the field of play and was immediately taken to hospital for assessment. This morning she successfully underwent a surgical operation to stabilise the fracture with a plate. Her recovery from the operation will be monitored and her ongoing participation in the Olympic Games will be reviewed following her return to the athletes’ village.
The injury itself is not expected to prevent Walsh from playing hockey. Her continued participation is dependent on her recovery from the surgery and this will be assessed on an ongoing basis over the coming days.
She is in good spirits and wishes to thank the hospital staff who have cared for her and all of those who have wished her well via social media.
Great Britain Hockey media release
GB hockey captain Kate Walsh undergoes surgery on fractured jaw but hopes Games are not over
By Jessica Winch
True grit: Kate Walsh receives attention after being hit by a Japanese hockey stick Photo: AP
Great Britain women’s hockey captain Kate Walsh has undergone surgery on a fractured jaw after being injured during her side’s 4-0 win against Japan yesterday, but she may continue playing in the Olympics.
It is hoped Walsh, 32, will be released from hospital in the next 24 hours but her progress is being monitored.
The injury is not expected to prevent Walsh playing hockey again during the Games, although it is not clear when she could rejoin the team on the playing field.
A Team GB statement said: “The injury itself is not expected to prevent Walsh from playing hockey. Her continued participation is dependent on her recovery from the surgery and this will be assessed on an ongoing basis over the coming days.
“She is in good spirits and wishes to thank the hospital staff who have cared for her and all of those who have wished her well via social media.”
Followers have been sending messages of support to Walsh since she was accidentally hit in the face by a hockey stick yesterday evening.
Gryphon Hockey UK said: “Good to hear @katewalsh11 is through surgery & her injury is stabilised. Amazingly she may yet play on. Brave, inspirational, a true leader.”
Lewis Moody, former England and Bath rugby union player, said: “She's a tough cookie!”
Donna Cooper said: “The hockey world (even the opposition) wants u in action at these games! true sportsmanship.”
Walsh, who has captained the Great Britain team since 2003, was hit on the left side of her jaw by a Japanese hockey stick during a tackle in the closing minutes of play.
She fell to the floor and stayed down for several minutes, before being helped off the pitch holding ice to her face. Walsh was taken immediately to hospital for assessment and had surgery early this morning to stabilise the fracture with a plate.
The Reading defender has been an integral part of Danny Kerry's side for many years, winning 288 caps since making her international debut in 1999.
Natalie Seymour, 24, is the GB reserve likely to be called in to cover an injury if Walsh has to be ruled out of play. Seymour, a Canterbury defender, is one of two reserve athletes for the Olympic Games, alongside clubmate goalkeeper Abi Walker.
Dwyer inspires Aussie rampage, Pakistan held, India lose
WELL DONE: Pakistan’s Rehan Butt is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal during the preliminary round men’s field hockey match of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (AFP
Captain Jamie Dwyer scored a hat-trick as world champions Australia launched their Olympic Games men’s hockey campaign with a thumping 6-0 victory over South Africa yesterday.
Dwyer’s three strikes helped him equal the Australian record of 179 international goals held by Mark Hager, who is coach of the New Zealand team at these Olympics.
Dwyer was instrumental in earning both penalty strokes that he went on to convert and also scored on a penalty corner as Australia outplayed South Africa.
Australia fired four goals in the second session to outpace South Africa, while Asian Games winners South Korea earlier held off a late New Zealand charge to post a 2-0 win.
Meanwhile, India, who failed to qualify for the 2008 Games, endured a miserable return to the
Olympics when they lost 3-2 to the Netherlands while rivals Pakistan were held 1-1 by Spain.
Dwyer opened the scoring in the 16th minute for Australia with a penalty stroke after he was brought down by a defender inside the circle.
Dwyer then set up the second Australian goal two minutes before half-time with a pass that Matthew Butturini deflected in.
Christopher Ciriello converted a penalty corner in the 46th minute before Dwyer fired in a penalty corner in the 48th and then forced another penalty stroke that he converted in the 58th.
Glenn Turner rounded off the Australian scoring with a field goal in the 62nd minute. You Hyo-Sik scored two field goals for South Korea against New Zealand.
“I’m excited about scoring twice as I’ve been waiting for a goal on the international stage for a long time,” said You, who deflected diagonal crosses past New Zealand goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.
New Zealander Simon Child wasted an early scoring opportunity by shooting wide before You put South Korea ahead in the 19th minute by capitalising on a diagonal ball from Kang Moon-Kyu.
You again found the target one minute before half-time on a pass from Jang Jong-Hyun.
It was not a very profitable day for the once formidable Asian giants, India and Pakistan. Robert van der Horst and Rod Weusthof put the Dutch 2-0 ahead against India but Dharamvir clawed one back for India from a post rebound and Shivendra three minutes later.
But the Dutch, despite no longer including Taeke Taekama, converted two out of two penalty corners with Mink van der Weerden flicking a snorter for the decisive goal.
Pakistan led Spain with a fine 47th-minute shot by Rehan Butt but Pau Quaemada took just 40 seconds to level the scores.
Spain had more control over the game but it was their goalkeeper Francisco Cortes who made crucial first half saves.
Pakistan hold Spain 1-1, Australia spank South Africa 6-0 in hockey
Australia's Matthew Butturini (8) and South Africa's Andrew Cronje battle for the ball during the men's hockey preliminary match at the 2012 Summer Olympics on July 30, 2012.
LONDON: Pakistan held 2008 Olympic silver medallists Spain to a 1-1 draw on the opening day of the men's Olympic hockey competition at the London Games after Australian captain Jamie Dwyer's spurred the World champions to a runaway 6-0 win over South Africa on Monday.
Pakistan wasted several scoring chances after surviving sustained Spanish attacks in the first session and later in the second half saw a Spanish goal being negated after the umpire had blown the whistle and pointed to the centre.
Spain had the rival goal under intense pressure in the Group A encounter when the Pakistan defenders were unable to clear the ball for 10 minutes.
Pakistan were unlucky that striker Mohammad Rizwan twice faltered after getting into goal-scoring positions and a rising drag flick from skipper Sohail Abbas got deflected out after hitting the cross-piece.
Pakistan had finished last among seven nations in the Azlan Shah Cup two months ago.
After a goalless first session, Pakistan broke the deadlock when Rehan Butt slammed the ball into the board on a pass from Haseem Khan in the 46th minute, but Spain equalised within a minute as Pau Quemada found the target with a reverse hit that beat goalkeeper Imran Shah.
A Spanish goal was overturned after video referral later on when Pakistan protested against a striker swinging the stick to slam a rising ball into the net.
Earlier, in another Group A match, Australia's nippy striker Dwyer, one of the best players in world hockey, added another feather to his cap when the scored thrice as the World champions gave South Africa a drubbing.
Dwyer's three-goal feat brought him at par with Mark Hager's record of 179 goals for Australia in international hockey.
Dwyer's three strikes featured two penalty strokes, both of which he was instrumental in earning, and the deflection of a penalty corner.
South Africa, who had to come to the Olympics Games after being forced to qualify twice, were swept away by the Australian wave.
Australia, who have lost only two matches in major tournaments during the past three years, opened the scoring with Dwyer converting a penalty stroke in the 16th minute.
Dwyer sent in a cross from the left that produced the second goal in the 34th minute as Matthew Butturini swept the ball into boards. Christopher Ciriello (46th mintue) converted a penalty corner.
Dwyer then scored off a penalty corner (48th minute) and a penalty stroke in the (58th) before Glenn Turner's field goal in the 62nd minute completed Australia's domination.
Group B, in which India features, threw up an interesting result in the opening match of the men's Olympic hockey competition when South Korea defeated New Zealand 2-0 in an upset of sorts.
Both Korean goals came from fine deflections by You Hyo Sik, who found the target in the 19th and 34th minutes.
New Zealand came back strongly, forcing three penalty corners toward the end, but failed to breach the Korean defence.
Andrew Hayward beat the Korean goalkeeper with his flick in the 58th minute, but Lee Nam Yong stopped the ball on the goal line.
New Zealand captain Dean Couzins said the loss would affect their chances of advancing to the semifinals.
"We gave away a couple of iffy goals and it makes the rest of the tournament really difficult," said Couzins.
Great Britain put four past Argentina
A double for Great Britain Captain Barry Middleton and a goal each for Dan Fox and Richard Smith ensured that Great Britain men got their London 2012 Olympics campaign off to a great start with a 4-1 victory over Argentina at the Riverbank Arena tonight.
Speaking after the match, Great Britain Captain Barry Middleton was very grateful to have the home support. “It (the crowd) makes such a difference to us. We’re not used to this in the usual hockey we play in during the year. To have a crowd like this making so much noise just gives everyone a lift. The hard thing at times is trying to control that energy and not get too carried away. We got a perfect balance today. We used the energy of the crowd.” He then added his views on the team performance and goal scoring, saying, “This team shares the goals around a lot. You can go to some tournaments and get on a roll and end up with five or six or not. You play the same tournament; you just miss a few chances. I think that’s what we’ve shown today. A lot of the guys have had chances and we’re a team that will share them around. Another day it’ll be someone else’s job.”
Great Britain’s players thought they had opened the scoring in the 5th minute when Reading midfielder Nick Catlin’s shot was smartly saved by Juan Manuel Vivaldi in the Argentine goal. The rebound fell to Surbiton’s Matt Daly, whose first time shot was dispatched into the back of the net. Unfortunately for the home side, the video umpire adjudged the ball to have hit Daly’s body before the strike, resulting in the Argentina appeal being upheld and the goal chalked off.
Despite this early disappointment, Great Britain continued to increase the pressure on their South American opponents and their efforts were rewarded in the 22nd minute with a penalty corner. With regular set-play receiver Ashley Jackson off the pitch, Loughborough Students’ Richard Smith collected the injection at theedge of the circle, but saw his drag-flick palmed away by Vivaldi. The ball fell to Middleton, who with expert precision lashed the ball past the despairing ‘keeper for the home nation to take a 1-0 lead into the break.
With a slender one goal advantage, Great Britain soaked up some strong Argentinian pressure in the opening period of the second half before doubling their lead in the 42nd minute. Surbiton’s Rob Moore slalomed through the Argentine midfield, eventually finding East Grinstead playmaker Jackson with a clever pass. The 24 year-old picked out club team-mate Middleton on the right hand side of the shooting circle, where he dragged the ball onto his left hand side and delivered a reverse stick drive straight through Vivaldi’s legs to claim his second goal of the game.
With the score now at 2-0, Great Britain were beginning to turn the screw and a third goal for the home side in the 49th minute involved the influential Jackson once again. His swift counter-attack and pass finally led to Hampstead & Westminster’s Dan Fox staring down Vivaldi in the centre of the circle. The defender kept his composure and fired the ball low into the corner of the net to register his first international goal and make the score 3-0.
Not to be out-done by their female counterparts, the Great Britain men’s team grabbed a fourth goal in the 53rd minute when an Argentine infringement was punished with a penalty corner. Smith again found himself on the end of the set-play and the 24 year-old delivered a clinical finish past Vivaldi to put Great Britain out of sight at 4-0.
An otherwise excellent evening for the home side was partly spoiled by Pedro Ibarra’s consolation goal from a penalty corner in the 55th minute. Nevertheless, Great Britain come away from the first game having laid down a marker to the rest of their pool rivals. Their next match at the Riverside Arena will be on Wednesday 1 August, when they play South Africa at 16.00.
Speaking after the game Dan Fox was delighted with his first international goal, "Absolutely brilliant, no better time to score I guess. We had a lot of shots on target and quite a few balls flashing across goal, so if you put those away in international hockey you win by three or four goals every game. That’s where we need to improve in the next match (against South Africa).”
Meanwhile, Great Britain women continue their quest for an Olympic medal on home soil when they play Korea at 16.00 tomorrow in their second Pool A match.
GREAT BRITAIN 4 (1)
Middleton 22’ 42’ (PC) (F)
Fox 49’ (F)
Smith 53’ (PC)
ARGENTINA 1 (0)
Ibarra 55’ (PC)
GREAT BRITAIN SQUAD v ARGENTINA
Name (Club) Position
James Fair (Cannock) Goalkeeper
Ben Hawes (Wimbledon) Defender
Iain Lewers (East Grinstead) Defender
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students) Defender
Alastair Wilson (Beeston) Defender
Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead) Midfielder
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead) Midfielder
Nick Catlin (Reading) Midfielder/Forward
Rob Moore (Surbiton) Midfielder/Forward
James Tindall (Surbiton) Forward
Barry Middleton (HGC (Netherlands) ) Midfielder/Forward
Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster) Defender
Iain Mackay (Reading) Forward
Jonty Clarke (Reading) Forward
Matt Daly (Surbiton) Forward
Harry Martin (Old Loughtonians) Midfielder
Great Britain Hockey media release
Dwyer Hat-Trick Leads Kookaburras to Victory
Image: Grant Treeby
It was the perfect start for the World Number One team and there's more to come...Watch this space...Go Kookaburras!
AUSTRALIA 6 d South Africa 0
Jamie Dwyer 3, Matthew Butturini, Chris Ciriello, Glenn Turner 1
Australia: Jamie Dwyer, Fergus Kavanagh, Mark Knowles, Matt Gohdes
South Africa: Justin Reid Ross, Goal keeper-Rassie Pieterse, Wade Paton
Five-time World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer has equalled a Kookaburra’s record and scored a hat-trick, to lead Australia to a 6-0 win over South Africa in their Olympic opener.
Dwyer was electrifying and showed exactly why he is regarded as a living legend and has equalled Australia’s goal scoring record held by New Zealand women’s coach Mark Hager.
Dwyer has scored 179 goals in 278 games, Hager achieved the same in 230 matches. The Queenslander is destined to surpass the record at the London Olympics and add yet another accolade to his illustrious career.
The Kookaburras took a little while to warm up however and to South Africa’s credit it pressured the world number one team well in the first half.
Dwyer broke the dead-lock, pouncing on a rebound, after a great tomahawk from Russell Ford, earning a penalty stroke, which he nailed.
South African keeper Rassie Pieterse kept his team in the match for the rest of the half with some great saves, before Matthew Butturini finished off another brilliant run from Dwyer, to see the Kookaburras to a 2-0 lead at the break.
In the second, Australia continued to lift the tempo and apart from Dwyer, who was the stand out, it was hard to pick best players because all athletes contributed to the win.
Dwyer added another penalty stroke and sent home a scrap in the circle to secure his hat-trick, before Chris Ciriello converted a penalty corner drag flick and Glenn Turner made an easy put away to round out the 6-0 win.
The Kookaburras defensive unit led by Fergus Kavanagh and Mark Knowles barely gave the South Africans a chance in attack and is looking strong for the rest of the tournament.
Dwyer’s young cousin Matt Gohdes also showed touches of brilliance and is one to watch moving forward.
The Kookaburras next match is against Spain on Wednesday, August 1 at 5.20pm!
Hockey Australia media release
Aussies humble SA hockey men
The South African men’s hockey side may have lost 6-0 against Australia in their Olympic Games opener here yesterday but there were signs that the team can fare well during their campaign.
Having to overcome the world’s highest ranked team in their first fixture was always going to be a tough proposition for coach Gregg Clark’s side and it proved to be the case as Australian captain Jamie Dwyer netted a hat-trick en route to victory.
The opposition got on the scoreboard midway through the first half when Simon Orchard won a penalty stroke. It was Dwyer who stepped up to slot the opportunity and did so coolly, flicking the ball past a diving Rassie Pieterse.
The South African goalkeeper was called into action several times throughout the contest and had it not been for his efforts the score may have been inflated as he was forced into making several saves, particularly from Australia’s accurate short-corners.
The South Africans, who kept up with the pace of Australia’s game very well, let things slide in the last 10 minutes of the half as they allowed Matthew Butterini to add his name to the scoresheet following a run down the left hand baseline to make it 2-0 at halftime.
The goal tally started to creep up in the second half as Christopher Ciriello made it 3-0 with a drag-flick from a penalty corner before Dwyer added two more from a short-corner and penalty stroke. Glenn Turner added the final goal with eight minutes left of the clock.
“There’s a lot of hockey still to play and this tournament and that was always going to be a really tough game for us,” Clark said afterwards before adding his thoughts on the game.
“We did very well in patches but I think too many of us were a bit slow today and maybe getting caught up a little bit in the environment and that sort of thing,” he added.
The side will now meet hosts Great Britain in their next fixture tomorrow, a match that he feels will really signal the start of their campaign.
“It’s going to be a really interesting game. It’s a team we know well and they’re a team we know we can get a result against. There’s 12 points in the table and those 12 can get us very far in this tournament,” he said.
The South African women’s side, who lost their opener 7-1 to Argentina on Sunday, face New Zealand today.
SA men go down 6-0 to Aussies in London
By Mark Etheridge in London
Defender Andrew Cronje celebrated his 100th Test Cap as our men’s hockey side opened their Olympic campaign with a tough match against Australia at the Riverbank Arena on Monday.
But that was pretty much the only thing that the South Africans celebrated as they went down 6-0, the same six-goal margin suffered by our women’s side who lost 7-1 to Argentina on Sunday.
The Group A preliminary stage match got underway at a cracking tempo in breezy conditions and the floodlights switched on under cloudy skies. It was immediately end to end action and Australia had the first penalty corner in the fifth minute but the effort from the left was nicely blocked by a combination of defenders.
A nasty collision between Thornton McDade and Aussie ‘keeper Nathan Burgers saw both men receiving treatment.
Shortly after that tempers flared in the Aussie area and Tim Deavin was handed a green-card and a two-minute penalty for lashing out.
Then in the 16th minute it was Australia who were handed a penalty stroke after a hand prevented the ball entering the goal and captain Jamie Dwyer beat Rassie Pieterse to put the Aussies 1-0 up.
With nine minutes to play South Africa had a let-off when a shot by Glenn Turner rattled Pieterse’s left-hand upright.
And a minute later a lovely through ball found Kieran Govers unmarked in the SA D but Pieterse did well to clear.
With five minutes to play Australia looked to have doubled their score but a television referral showed ball had come off an Aussie foot before entering the net.
Less than two minutes before half-time Australia did in fact double their score after Matthew Butturini slid home after an attack down the left flank.
On the stroke of halftime SA’s Wade Paton was shown a green card and given a two-minute suspension.
The second half saw South Africa looking a way more composed and effective side and they strung some good passes together, with England based player Ian Haley showing some nice touches.
Eight minutes into the half Aussie No5 Chris Cierello was given a tw0-minute suspension. Immediately after his suspension ended he was in action and had a shot saved after a penalty corner. From the very next penalty corner his shot was too good for Pieterse and the 2008 Olympic bronze medallists were 3-0.
It got worse for coach Gregg Clark’s men a minute later as Dwyer netted his second score from a goalmouth melée and SA were looking rather ragged.
But the South Africans refused to lie down and Thornton McDade did some good work down the left and Mark Knowles was given a five-minute yellow-card suspension.
SA had a let-off with 15 minutes to go when Russell Ford rounded Pieterse but duffed his reverse-stick shot with an open goal beckoning.
But the relentless Aussie onslaught showed no sign of letting up and with 12 minutes to go Dwyer bagged his hat-trick as he nailed his second penalty stroke.
With just under 10 minutes to play Lloyd Norris-Jones had a nice run down the left but not even a full-stretch dive failed to deliver an effective cross.
Things got worse with eight minutes to go as the Aussies unlocked the SA defence once again and the shaven-headed Glenn Turner made it 6-0.
Pieterse then pulled off a fine save with three minutes to go and from the resulting counter-attack by the South Africans, Aussie Simon Orchard’s game was over as he was handed a yellow card and five-minute suspension.
SASCOC Road to London
Clark looks ahead after tough Games opener
By Mark Etheridge in London
While crediting world champion Australia’s overall superiority South African men’s hockey coach Gregg Clark refuses to let his head drop.
Clark was speaking after South Africa were on the end of a 6-0 shut-out in Monday’s Group A preliminary game at the Riverbank Arena.
“Obviously it’s tough losing but these guys are the world champions. But it’s over now and in effect our tournament really starts now because there are still 12 points on the table that we need to play for.
“Our next game’s against Great Britain and should be a real cracker.”
On Monday’s game Clark said there were encouraging aspects for the South Africans to build on.
“We had patches where we showed what we can do, especially in the last 10 minutes but by then it was too late. I think quite a few of us were just a bit slow out there today.
“The second goal was crucial, coming just before half-time and the the thing is you can’t afford to turn over the ball so high up because a team like this counters so quickly.”
For his part Austin Smith put his hand up. “That second goal came from my error and it cost us. There were just too many basic mistakes and individual errors and at this level because you get punished
“Also a think the guys are just not used to playing at this high a level where you have to concentrate 100%. Individually we didn’t have great games.”
Smith was also full of praise for the crowd who provided a great atmosphere during the game. “The crowds here have got great hockey knowledge, way more than was the case at the Beijing Olympics so it made for a great spectacle.”
SASCOC Road to London
Jackson lives up to star billing
By Andy Elliott
BEING dubbed hockey’s answer to David Beckham must really pile on the pressure – not only to play well but be perfectly coiffured too.
But Ashley Jackson lived up to his star billing last night as he guided Great Britain to victory over Argentina in their opening match. And, thankfully, not a hair on his head looked out of place.
Not that his GB team-mates call him ‘Becks’; they prefer to use the nickname ‘Worm’ – in reference to his awful press-up technique. But he was just as influential for his team as the former England football captain, spraying passes about from midfield and controlling the set-pieces.
“I’m feeling in good form, although it’s easy when we play like that,” said Jackson. “When we play great as a team, the passes are easy and everything just seems really obvious to me out there.”
The 24-year-old, who was the world’s young player of the year in 2009, played county-level cricket at school and admits that if he had been offered a professional cricket contract before Great Britain came calling, he would have signed it. Cricket’s loss has most definitely been hockey’s gain.
The heat was on the men after the women’s team thrashed Japan 4-0 in their first game of the tournament on Sunday. And GB, who are rated the No4 side in the world, came out of the traps quickly, having a goal by Matt Daly ruled out after just five minutes.
For most of the first half, the 5ft 8in Jackson had the hulking 6ft 2in Lucas Rossi and 6ft 3in Ignacio Bergner shadowing his every move. It looked as if they could have used him as a toothpick.
Indeed, Bergner was sin-binned for a rough challenge in the first half. In his absence, Great Britain took the lead through Jackson’s East Grinstead team-mate and GB captain Barry Middleton, who reacted quickest to a great save by Argentina goalkeeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi.
The British fans at the Riverbank Arena – which was livened up by the musical presence of a drummer and a trumpeter or two draped in Union Flags – were on their feet moments later when Jackson was sent clear, but he was unable to convert the chance.
The match then degenerated into a niggly affair. It had been claimed beforehand that there was no bad blood between the teams after an Argentina player filmed a controversial advert in the Falklands. But that did not seem to be the case last night, as several players lost their cool, Britain’s Nick Catlin being sent to the sin-bin for two minutes.
Another burst through the middle by Jackson created the space for Middleton to have a shot, which he hit more in hope than expectation. He could only smile and shrug as the ball nutmegged Vivaldi for his 77th goal in 258 internationals.
The fractious nature of the game continued, with Daly and Argentina’s Agustin Mazzilli both sent to the sidelines to cool off.
But Dan Fox secured the victory, hammering home after being set up by – who else? – Jackson.
And when Richard Smith rammed home another from a penalty corner, the crowd cheekily chanted, ‘We want five’. Unfortunately, the only goal they got was one from Argentina’s Pedro Ibarra, another recipient of a yellow card earlier in the game.
But that did not stop the celebrations in the stands as the players thanked fans for their incredible support.
Team GB's clash with Argentina was less of a grudge match and more jolly hockey sticks
By Matthew Norman
Talking tough: Great Britain's Barry Middleton (left) exchanges words with Argentina's Martias Damian Vila but the bad blood was not really evident in the match Photo: AP
If Monday evening’s renewal of a certain South Atlantic face-off from 30 years ago seemed miserably good humoured, the crux of the problem was plain.
All well and good as it is for its feisty president Christina Fernandez de Kerchner to renew Argentine claims to the Falklands, and however butch the stance David Cameron affects in response to this insolence, connoisseurs of the international grudge match know this. Any such contest must lack savour without the beguiling sense that it is thermonuclear warfare by proxy.
Don’t blame either team for the genteel atmosphere. Blame the absence of intercontinental ballistic missiles in Buenos Aires silos.
This is not to denigrate the rumbling discord between “Great Britain”, which younger readers should know is what we called Team GB back in 1982, and Argentina. It is to the latter’s credit that it tried to infuse this game with a little political gelignite back in May’s, with the state-sponsored TV advert featuring a hockey player training in the Falklands and the cheeky punchline “To compete on English soil, we are training on Argentine soil”. You cannot accuse them of dilettantism in seeking to ignite the incendiary diplomatic mood.
Yet it must ruefully be observed that this clash involved one military power with an armada half the size and strength of Trumpton’s, and another currently trialling the novel concept of aircraft carriers without aircraft. Snapping at one another’s ankles with sticks is about as close to destructive war as Britain and Argentina can manage these days, and on Monday there was precious little of that. Compared with the two most scintillating grudge matches in Olympic history, what chance of immortality did it have?
“When two tribes go to war, money’s all that you can score,” posited Frankie Goes To Hollywood the year after the Falklands conflict, but what did Holly Johnson know about anything? It was in the age of amateurism that those tribes twice went to Olympic war in the purist causes of reciprocal hatred and nationalistic pride. What they scored was one barely credible shock win apiece.
The first of the Cold War superpower mash-ups provided, in the denouement to the 1972 basketball final, perhaps the most melodramatic single moment any Olympics has known. The USSR had what Barry Davies, on cracking hockey commentary form last night, would call not an earthly of beating a USA never defeated before at any Games.
When the match finished for the first time, the Soviets had done miraculously well to lose by a single point. When it finished for the second time, after being restarted for the USSR timeout called with one second remaining, they had won thanks to an astounding court-length pass and resultant hoop.
Eight years later, with Cold War tensions crescendoing, the ice hockey event at the 1980 Winter Olympics provided indecently perfect symmetry. This time it was the Soviets, winners of every tournament since 1960, who simply could not lose in the medal round to a ragtag coalition of American college boys.
With 10 minutes remaining, the US took a 4-3 lead and clung on to secure the Miracle On Ice. A few months later, the USSR invaded Afghanistan, offering the lesson in utter futility which the western powers would thankfully learn, and the ensuing boycott and counter-boycott would keep them from refreshing their Olympic rivalry until the Cold War was almost done.
Although the Americans tried to sustain the old spirit with the hilarious Axis of Evil vs Great Satan group game of the 1998 football World Cup, won 2-1 by the AoE, Iran was not then, is not now, and may never be a nuclear state. So it has latterly fallen to India and Pakistan, nuclear armed to the teeth and nervously eyeing each other across the Kashmiri border, to fill in as best they can on the cricket pitch.
However, relations seem improved since last year’s World Cup semi final won by India last year, and the eyes of an expectant world now turn to one of Iran’s Axis of Evil compadres. Tuesday’s women’s football meeting between nuclear North Korea and the USA has potential for the odd spark, and I speak for us all in wishing the plucky little flag pedants from Pyongyang all the best in springing a massive upset against a superpower of the women’s game.
As for England’s gratifying 4-1 demolition of Argentina last night, the latter’s wilfully irresponsible refusal to spend tens of billions of dollars it doesn’t have on nuclear weaponry it doesn’t need, and the depressingly mannerly encounter this dictated, causes a question to be begged. If this is the fiercest brand of grudge match two supposedly bellicose countries can manage, quite frankly (as Mr Davies famously asked when a grander foe scored a consolation goal near the end of a grander Olympic hockey match), who cares?
Team GB send out statement of intent by thrashing Argentina 4-1 in men's hockey
By Jonathan Liew, Riverbank
Attack: Team GB's Ashley Jackson blasts the ball towards the Argentine goal Photo: HEATHCLIFF O'MALLEY
Great Britain’s match against Argentina was billed as an opportunity to send a strongly-worded message to an old foe, but instead it ended up as a statement of intent to the rest of the world, a message that went roughly as follows: this Great Britain intend to put an end to the fallow years.
This Great Britain do things differently. After the women swept Japan aside on Sunday, the men meted out largely similar treatment to Argentina, the world’s ninth best team, and one rarely described as pushovers. Britain pushed them over, four goals to one.
It was a game won in the centre, through the brilliance of Ashley Jackson and Barry Middleton, the tireless running of Richard Smith, the stoicism of Ben Hawes, frequently the last and generally the best line of defence in the final third. Britain had discipline and they had concentration, but more impressively, they had seemingly bottomless reserves of creativity too. British teams of the past have struggled to devise a viable Plan B. To adapt Dave Brailsford’s phrase, Jackson alone has an entire alphabet.
Stiffer tests await – it is the results against Australia and Spain that will ultimately determine whether Britain reach the semi-finals. But those are Britain’s last two matches, before which they have time to build up that ugly word, ‘momentum’. The home crowd at the Riverbank Arena, as magnificent as it had been on Sunday night, is creating a real surge of energy, a real swell of inspiration. The tiny pocket of Argentinian fans behind one goal had been silenced long before Ibarra’s late goal from a penalty corner, which they barely celebrated. Ironic cheering of a consolation goal is, by the looks of things, a peculiarly British phenomenon.
The preamble, inevitably, depressingly, had been dominated by politics. It was a preamble that lasted over two months, when the draw for this Olympic competition threw together two nations who had once fought, and who were latterly rattling their sabres once more on the world stage. Given that days earlier, Argentinian state-supported television had broadcast an advertisement showing a hockey player training in the Falkland Islands and referring to it as ‘Argentine soil’, it could hardly be otherwise.
But by now, in the midst of a home Olympics which bears ill-will to nobody – except, perhaps, sponsors who leave prime venue seats unfilled – the idea of fighting our diplomatic battles on the hockey field seemed far harder to sustain. Of course, there were isolated incidents to feed the ‘enmity’ narrative.
Matt Daly squared up to a few of the Argentine players towards the end of the first half after a clumsy challenge on Pedro Ibarra. But it was not an ill-tempered match; no more so, at any rate, than the earlier encounter between Pakistan and Spain, which had seen a number of spicy tackles go unpunished and therefore proliferate.
Instead, it was a quick, physical game, which suited both sides for the first half at least. Argentina broke quickly, attacking and defending with numbers, a strategy that appeared to tire them earlier. But they enjoyed some good early chances, the best a weaving run from Santiago Montelli that produced a good save from James Fair.
A green card for Ignacio Bergner proved the turning point of the half. Almost immediately, the ball rolled onto Gonazlo Peillat’s foot as Daly attempted to twist his way through. Penalty corner. Smith’s flick hit goalkeeper Juan Manuel Vivaldi’s arm, captain Middleton brought the ball down and, with his back to goal, smashed the ball in. Tempers, sticks and sand began to fly towards the end of the half. Richard Catlin was ordered off for two minutes, refusing to retreat for a free hit.
Daly’s contre-temps with Ibarra brought Juan Lopez and Lucas Rey stalking over to remonstrate. The hooter came at precisely the right time.
For Britain, at least, who used their superior quality to pick Argentina apart. Six minutes into the half, Middleton received the ball on the edge of the circle, slipped inside, and launched a brilliant shot with the reverse stick, through the throngs that were impeding Vivaldi’s view and into the side of the goal.
Jackson was beginning to orchestrate the central third, next pacing a long pass perfectly into the path of James Tindall, who shot inches wide.
Agustin Mazzilli’s yellow card — five minutes on the sidelines — for a deliberate trip on Iain Mackay was the cue for the floodgates to open.
Jackson again created the chance from a breakaway, releasing Dan Fox, who was allowed to advance unchallenged into the circle before tucking the ball past Vivaldi. Fox’s smile was as wide as the River Lea. It was his first international goal.
Smith added a fourth, an elementary slap from a penalty corner, after which Great Britain appeared to ease off, possibly with Wednesday’s game against South Africa in mind. Ibarra’s late goal proved to be no more than a footnote. It is Great Britain who have written the statement.
USA v USSR 1972
Basketball final in the midst of the Cold War in which the unbeaten Americans were denied gold amid shenanigans with the game clock.
Hungary v Soviet Union 1956
In the year of the Hungarian Revolution, the pair faced off in the water polo semi-finals. Hungary’s Ervin Zador emerged with blood pouring from under his eye, but his team won 4-0.
N Korea v S Korea 2012
The local rivals are together in the men’s teams table tennis and will play each other on Friday. Pray for the flags being the right way around.
India v Pakistan 1960
Hockey giants India had won six successive gold medals but neighbours Pakistan sneaked a 1-0 win in the final in Rome.
North Korea v USA 2012
Women’s football teams play at Old Trafford on Tuesday. Nuclear war will, one hopes, be averted.
India goes down with guns blazing
The Netherlands prevails 3-2 in a gripping encounter
Netherlands' Marcel Balkestein and India's Sandeep Singh vie for the ball during their men's hockey preliminary round match at the 2012 Summer Olympics on Monday.
Several heart-warming moments notwithstanding, India went down 2-3 to the Netherlands in a Group ‘B’ preliminary round hockey match on Monday. Even as the Dutch raced away to a 2-0 lead in the first half, India sprung back with gumption in the second session.
India began with remarkable fluidity and discipline — traits that have contributed to the team’s improved performances in the recent past. The notorious brittleness of the backline, however, came back to haunt India again.
S.V. Sunil launched the first attacking move of significance when he sped along the right flank. A long corner later, India found itself in the ‘D’ where it was rewarded with a penalty corner.
Dharamvir Singh’s strike was halted by a tenacious Dutch defence.
The Netherlands, ruthless in intent and execution, stormed the Indian citadel. Even as a goal loomed, V.R. Raghunath made a neat, sliding tackle to delay the inevitable. Skipper Bharat Chetri led from the front, making sharp saves to twice deny the dangerous Teun de Nooijer. India, then, produced a fine run down the middle but Shivendra Singh’s back-flick went wide.
The Dutch soon sneaked ahead as an unmarked Robert van der Horst slammed home in the 20th minute. With India’s pair of forwards being countered by five rival defenders, the team tried to make capital of counterattacks.
But, the Dutch pressed the throttle and made it 2-0 in the 29th minute. Roderick Weusthof dragged in the short corner that trickled in off Manpreet Singh’s stick.
A fast-paced first session was overshadowed by a more gripping second half. India turned up as a different unit, blending defensive efficiency with hectic forays.
Much to the delight of the large number of Indian fans who had turned up, the side pulled one back in the 45th minute. Dharmavir sent the ball into an open goal after it deflected off the post.
Three minutes later, India restored parity through a piece of brilliant manoeuvring from G.S. Chandi. Dodging the rival defenders, he passed the ball to Shivendra. The latter had no trouble slotting it home.
Just when India’s spirits sky-rocketed, the Dutch came up with a stunning riposte in the 51st minute: Mink van der Weerden converting a penalty corner with a ferocious drag flick.
The rest of the session panned out with India trying frantically to get back on level footing. The Netherlands prevailed in the end, but only just.
Group ‘B’: The Netherlands 3 (Robert van der Horst, Roderick Weusthof, Mink van der Weerden) bt India 2 (Dharamvir Singh, Shivendra Singh).
Group ‘A’: South Korea bt New Zealand 2-0; Australia bt South Africa 6-0; Spain drew with Pakistan 1-1.
India go down fighting against Netherlands
LONDON: Back in the Olympics after a hiatus of eight years, past masters of the game India produced a valiant fightback in the second-half before losing 2-3 to world number three The Netherlands in their opening Group B match of the men's hockey competition on Monday.
Playing tentatively and lacking any cohesion in their attacks, world ranked 10th India conceded two goals in the first session, but capitalised on two slim chances in the second half to draw 2-2 parity.
But India's joy was shortlived as The Netherlands restored their lead minutes later by converting a penalty corner.
The Indian players' nerves were on display in their opening match, where all but two of their players were making the maiden appearance in Olympic Games.
India mounted the first raid in the fifth minute to force their only penalty corner of the match, which V R Raghunath failed capitalise on in the absence of ace drag-flicker Sandeep Singh.
Raghunath had a good chance to put India ahead when his initial shot rebounded back to him off an onrushing defender's stick. He had plenty of space to seize control of the ball and have another shot at the target with the defenders a bit ruffled, but he tried a shot on the moving ball and wasted the opportunity.
The Netherlands then held sway for an extended period as the Indian players' nerves were on display.
The Indians seemed nervous in their tackling and passing, but the defenders managed to keep the Dutch strikers at bay until the 20th minute.
Robert van der Horst opened the scoring for The Netherlands as he created space and dribbled in to shoot from the top of circle that beat Indian goalkeeper Bharat Chetri all ends up.
Continuing to play a defensive game, India only managed to get into the rival circle just one more time in the first session and even then failed to have a shot at the goal.
The Dutch continued to exert pressure and got their second goal from a penalty corner in the 28th minute when Roderick Weusthof's low flick trickled over the goalline after hitting Manpreet Singh's stick.
The Indian goal had a narrow shave soon after the resumption of play before they came out of their shell and launched some attacks, and managed to breach the Dutch citadel twice.
India's fightback began in the 45th minute when Tushar Khandekar's cross from the left flank struck the far post and rebounded into the circle. An opportunist Dharamvir Singh capitalised on the chance by beating goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann with a firm shot.
Three minutes later India were level at 2-2 when Gurwinder Chandi picked up a short pass from Gurbaz Singh inside the circle and dribbled past a defender before pushing the ball towards Shivendra Singh, who tapped in for India's second goal.
Penalty corner specialist Mink van der Weerden reclaimed the lead for The Netherlands when he sent in a drag flick just under the cross-bar.
Thereafter, the Indian defenders held off a number of brisk Dutch raids. To add to India's misery, the strikers failed to have another cracking shot at the rival goal despite breaking into the circle a few times looking for the equaliser.
In another Group B match earlier, South Korea caused an upset of sorts by defeating New Zealand 2-0.
India will next play New Zealand in their second Group B match on Wednesday, while the Dutch will be up against Belgium the same day.
The Times of India
We didn't play our natural game in first 35 minutes: Nobbs
LONDON: India's chief coach Michael Nobbs on Monday said that his wards did not play their natural game, especially in the first half against the might Netherlands in their opening Group B match of the men's hockey competition in the Olympics.
Returning back to the Olympics after a gap of eight years, erstwhile champions India fought hard before going down 2-3 against The Netherlands at the Riverbank Arena.
The Indian players, all but two of them making their maiden Olympic appearance, were tentative and showed plenty of nerves to allow the Dutch enjoy complete domination in the first half.
"We did not play our natural game in the first half. They boys perhaps got overawed by the Dutch team instead of playing their game," Nobbs said at the post-match press conference.
India fell 0-2 behind in the first half, but managed to draw 2-2 level after the change of ends before the Dutch got the match-winner through a penalty corner conversion.
"When we played our game in the second half, we had our chances," added the Australian.
India captain Bharat Chetri felt his team "played a decent game" today.
"Back in the Olympics after eight years and playing one of the world's top teams, we were hopeful of matching them," said Chetri.
"We had some chances, but we were not able to force as many penalty corners as we wanted," he added.
The Netherlands coach Paul van Ass said the opening match is always the difficult part of the tournament, but he was surprised to see India's comeback from 0-2 down.
"I like the way India play hockey, and they showed that when they came back from 0-2 down to make it 2-2 before we got the match-winner," Van Ass said.
"I never expected India to bounce back from the halftime position of 0-2, but they pushed us back in the second half," the Dutch coach said.
"We did not want that situation and I'm glad we were able to fix that with another goal," he added, asserting that the Dutch strikers missed a lot of chances.
"It's nice to start with three points." The Dutch captain Floris Evers, however, was not pleased to have allowed India to make a comeback.
"When you are 2-0 up, you want to keep it that way. It was not a good display from us to give away two goals and allow India back into the game," he said.
The Times of India
Indian hockey team played for just 15 minutes: Pargat Singh
New Delhi: Indian hockey fans cannot be faulted for feeling dejected at the team's performance in the first outing at the Olympic Games against The Netherlands.
The 3-2 scoreline in favour of The Netherlands barely tells the entire story.
Beside the fact that the Dutch clinched three points and India started with zero point from the first match, a big factor is the way the India team played - or did not play.
India can count themselves lucky that some breaks came their way in the second half and they managed to score those two goals, but that is just a part of the big picture.
The hockey fans in India will have a feeling of disappointment at the manner in which the Indians played in what had been billed as India's return to the Olympic Games after eight years.
The gap was because India had failed to qualify for the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and just two members of the Indian hockey team were the link with the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
It will not be a big surprise if a player, making his first appearance in the Olympic Games, gets overawed by the occasion for a short duration.
But how does one explain an entire team forgetting all that had been grasped over months in preparation for this occasion.
The Indian team simply did not seem to be playing in the first half against The Netherlands, who are a strong side but not of the same class that the Dutch team possessed in the past.
The Indian team just about played competitive hockey for some 14-15 minutes. They were simply not there in the first half.
The first goal India conceded was a very soft one. Dutch striker Robert van der Horst did well to create space and have a clear look at the Indian goal before firing from top of the circle, but Bharat Chetri, the Indian captain and goalkeeper, was expected to stop that shot.
He should have got the pad out to his left and block it. Instead, what we saw was the ball travelling past a surprised goalkeeper.
The other two Dutch goals came from penalty corners and showed that Netherlands have a new generation of shooters ready to take over from Taeke Taekema, who is not playing the Olympics due to injury.
Manpreet Singh almost brought off a fine save on the low penalty corner shot from Roderick Weusthof, but failed to establish control over it and the ball went over the goal-line.
There was no challenge to the rising penalty corner drag-flick from Mink van der Weerden that ended just under the crossbar and turned out to be the match-winner.
Things did look slightly different during the second session when the India eventually managed to play their own game, and what a difference it seemed to make! Even in the brief period that the Indian players came into the picture and managed to exert some pressure, they could have actually inflicted more damage.
Beside the two goals, I think the Indian strikers could have scored at least one more in that short period itself. A bit more luck could have even earned India a draw.
The Dutch team did set a very brisk pace that is their hallmark, but even they seem to be having a lot of inexperienced players.
Such is the structure of international hockey these days that the top teams do not often come face to face with those in the second rung.
That was essentially the reason that India and Netherlands had not played a match for a long time. And when the Dutch were drawn in the same pool as India for the Olympic competition, it was good strategy that India did not give them a practice match during the recent tour of Europe.
(Pargat Singh represented India in three Olympic Games between 1988 and 1996. He is the only man to captain India in two Olympics – at Barcelona '92 and Atlanta '96.)
Black Sticks Men lose opener against Korea
The Black Sticks Men have lost 2-0 to sixth ranked Korea in their opening game of the Olympics.
Coach Shane McLeod said that although today’s loss is a setback, there is still a long way to go in the tournament.
“It is not the ideal start, but it is a long tournament and anything can happen. We need to deliver a better game, many players who have been playing well of late, didn’t play their best today,” says McLeod.
“The side is well prepared, it is just about bringing out the best from all the players and to not have that fear of losing. They [Korea] scored a couple of opportunist goals early on and it made it tough for us to get back into the game.”
It was another spectacular blue sky morning at the Riverbank Arena at Olympic Park and there were many Kiwi supporters in the close to capacity crowd.
The Black Sticks looked strong in the opening spell but struggled to counter the skilful Korean side. Korean You Hyo Sik scored twice for his side - in the 19th minute and then again following a goal mouth scramble in the 34th minute. New Zealand’s two shots on goal in the first half came from Simon Child and Ryan Archibald, both of which were well saved by goalkeeper Lee Myung Ho.
The Black Sticks created more opportunities to score in the second half, especially in the last 15 minutes with two penalty corners being awarded and more pressure being put on the skilful Korean side.
Although Korea held more possession, the game statistics showed that opportunities to score were pretty equal with the Black Sticks having seven shots on goal to Korea’s eight.
"It was disappointing, and really frustrating. We had a game plan, but we didn't play as we had hoped to. We know that we can play a lot better than that,” says captain Dean Couzins.
"We look forward now to our next match against India. I don't think we need too many changes. What's great about the Olympics is that anyone can beat anyone. We definitely know that we can play better, so we'll sit down, find out our strengths and go with them," says Couzins.
The Black Sticks play their next game against 10th ranked India on Thursday at 12.45am (NZ time) before playing the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany in pool play.
New Zealand 0, Korea (You Hyo Sik) 2. HT: 2-0
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Black Sticks men lose opener to Korea
JONATHAN MILLMOW IN LONDON
BATTLING HARD: Nicholas Wilson of the Black Sticks in action against South Korea. Iain McGregor/Fairfax NZ
It's not in coach Shane McLeod's character to roast his side - publicly at least - and nothing changed tonight after the Black Sticks men's hockey team crashed to a 2-0 defeat against Korea at the Olympic Games.
The Black Sticks started well and ended well but the 60 minutes in between were disappointing and McLeod had few clues why following the early morning game at Riverbank Arena.
"It's not the start we were after and it probably means we have to turn over one of the big teams in our group now (Germany or the Netherlands)," McLeod said.
"We played well within ourselves, it's disappointing, and maybe the players just under-estimated the pressure of the first game.
"There were a few uncharacteristic errors out there and just nobody stood out for us."
Anyone who watched the opening five minutes would've thought the Black Sticks were going to turn on an early morning treat for the near capacity crowd.
Even fluffed scoring chances by Simon Child and Ryan Archibald were brushed off as nothing to be alarmed about, but how wrong we were.
Korea then took a stranglehold on the game and it was only in the late stages when the Black Sticks forced three penalty corners that they looked like scoring. Andy Hayward and Shea McAleese both went close from the top of the circle but goalkeeping heroics by Lee Myung Ho and a last gasp defender on the post kept the Black Sticks scoreless.
Korea scored both their goals before halftime, both to You Hyo Sik and both in identical fashion with speculative crosses sent into the circle and You finding himself unmarked on the end of them.
The first game in the 19th minute when the Black Sticks were down to 10 men after Nick Haig was sent to the naughty chair for two minutes following a raised stick.
The next goal came in the 34th minute when a cross was not dealt with by the Black Sticks defence.
McLeod blamed the defeat on a collectively below-par effort rather than some individual shockers.
"We ended up chasing the game and to Korea's credit they defended well," McLeod said.
"It is not the end of the world but it is harder now. Still, I've been with this side long enough to know that when their backs are to the wall they play their best hockey."
At the final hooter, the Black Sticks put hands on knees while the Korean joined in a circle and chanted as though they had won the tournament.
Korea are no slouches, they are ranked No 6 in the world to New Zealand's No 7, but this was a must win game for the boys in the black singlets and now makes their qualifying path doubly difficult.
The Black Sticks should put away India on Thursday morning (12.45am) but then they face the Netherlands in a match that may define their campaign. Another loss there might render their remaining matches against Belgium and Germany as little more than ranking affairs.
Black Sticks face uphill fight to stay in medal hunt
By Dylan Cleaver
Black Sticks hockey defender Andrew Hayward is under pressure to get a pass away against Korea last night. Photo / Brett Phibbs
New Zealand 0
New Zealand's semifinals aspirations at the men's Olympic hockey tournament have become a lot more complicated.
After dropping their opener to Korea in a tepid display, they will now need to beat at least one of the two European giants in their pool - the Netherlands and Germany.
"We know what we have to do from now on," said midfielder Shea McAleese. "We have got a huge must-win coming up next [against India], then we have to topple Germany or Holland - it could end up being both of them.
"We've started on the back foot but we have to regroup and focus on India."
New Zealand started crisply against a nation ranked one spot higher than their seventh.
Nick Wilson carved out a great chance for Simon Child, but the Aucklander scuffed his shot.
That bright start quickly evaporated and after a frustrating period of chasing shadows, Nick Haig was green-carded for a raised stick. In the immediate aftermath of his dismissal, a hopeful centering pass was deflected then volleyed into the net by You Hyo Sik.
New Zealand struggled to get anything going and even looked lethargic in the early-morning heat. In the final minute of the half another ball was allowed to cross dangerously in front of goal and You picked up his second.
New Zealand knew Korea's main form of attack was the "crash ball" into the middle; dealing with it was a different matter.
Shane McLeod does not come across as a paint-peeling-off-the-walls type of coach, but this might have been the occasion to break the mould.
New Zealand started with a little more urgency in the second half but there is something about Korea's defence they have struggled to work out. At the recent Azlan Shah tournament, Korea scored one goal and that was enough to win.
They are quite happy to defend deep and watch the fullbacks and defensive midfielders pass pretty patterns, but they swarm on anybody receiving the ball in advanced position.
"They came out and half-courted us," said McAleese. "It means it is tough to get through 11 players, especially when you go down a goal.
"They can just kind of clog it up."
New Zealand endured a 30-minute period where they barely scraped together any meaningful possession in the final third of the pitch, let alone the circle. Quite extraordinarily, there was not a penalty corner until the 56th minute and although they ended up winning that count 3-1, each effort was repelled by a defence supremely confident in itself.
New Zealand's chances of progressing to the semifinals are severely compromised.
To have any chance, they really need to win three of their remaining four games, which include numbers two and three in the world in Germany and the Netherlands respectively.
Next up, however, is India, in the early hours of Thursday morning. Ranked 10th, the most successful team in Olympic history have to be beaten if the Kiwis are to advance.
The other options might as well spell the end.
The New Zealand Herald
Germany's male hockey team off to faltering start
Germany's men had a faltering start to the defence of their Olympic field hockey title Monday, falling behind to Belgium before recovering to win 2-1.
Belgium took a surprise early lead when Jerome Dekeyser converted a penalty corner in the 4th minute and Florian Fuchs equalized from open play nine minutes later before Christopher Zeller got the decisive goal in the 45th.
Germany weathered a torrid closing 15 minutes as Belgium pushed for an equalizer.
The Netherlands beat eight-time Olympic champion India 3-2 in the day's opening match and Australia skipper Jamie Dwyer scored a hat-trick to help his No. 1-ranked side defeat South Africa 6-0.
The Netherlands pulled ahead of India early after Roderick Weusthof scored from a penalty corner. Robert van der Horst scored next to help his side end the first half 2-0 ahead.
India, which dominated men's hockey for almost half a century but has been in a slump for years, started the second half strongly with forwards Dharamvir Singh and Sarvanjit Singh finding the net in the 45th and 48th minute to level the scores.
Mink van de Weerden scored a winner for the Netherlands.
"Our forward line was poor and we must improve on our finishing," said India midfielder Sardar Singh. "We made a good comeback in the second half. We took our chances and we felt more in control of the match."
Australia encountered little resistance from the South Africans.
"It opened up a little bit in the second half and we capitalized with a few goals," Dwyer said. "Overall it was a pretty good result, but we weren't thorough enough in a lot of areas and we need to improve."
"I had two (penalty) strokes in there so you are meant to score those goals. I'm glad I executed the two strokes properly and the penalty corner rebound, so overall very happy to get my name on the score sheet," Dwyer said.
In another match, Pakistan held the Beijing silver medallist Spain to a 1-1 draw.
Spain captain Santiago Freixa broke his arm in a collision with Muhammad Irfan late in the first half and though he tried to play on in the second half he was clearly in pain. He has been ruled out for the rest of the tournament.
Both sides created many chances, but only forward Rehan Butt converted for Pakistan in the 46th minute and Pau Quemada scored for Spain a minute later.
Earlier, You Hyo-sik scored both goals as South Korea beat New Zealand 2-0.
Captain Barry Middleton scored twice as host nation Britain overpowered Argentina 4-1.
Dan Fox and Richard Smith also scored as Britain raced to a 4-0 lead before Pedro Ibarra converted a penalty corner for Argentina.
"We had a lot of shots on target and quite a few balls flashing across goal, so if you put those away in international hockey you win by three or four goals every game," Fox said.
The New Zealand Herald
Pakistan hold Spain to 1-1 draw
-Photo by AFP
KARACHI: Pakistan opened their hockey campaign at the London Olympics with a spirited 1-1 draw against Spain on Monday.
The scoreline was not indicative of the free-flowing game witnessed at the Riverbank Arena in London, with Pakistan looking the more convincing team in brief spells. Even then, the draw was a favorable result for the Greenshirts who were expected to be to taken to task by the 2008 Beijing Olympics silver medallists.
Both teams took a while to hit top gear and the first-half saw plenty of unforced errors and turnovers. Pakistan, it seemed, had put a string of big losses in the warm-up to the Olympics well and truly behind them and put on a performance which was very uncharacteristic of the recent form they have displayed. They were quick on the counter and compact in defense, marking the Spaniards to the man. Their positive intent almost provided early dividends and the first real scoring opportunity of the match came to them through a penalty-corner. Captain Sohail Abbas and ‘the king of the drag-flick’ stepped up and nearly provided them with the first goal, his powerful strike deflected by Francisco Cortes in the Spanish goal.
Shaken by the effort, Spain swiftly mounted an attack of their own, denied only by a superb stick save by defender Muhammad Ifran.
It was left to veteran striker Rehan Butt to open the scoring for Pakistan, and he put the Greenshirts in the lead on a great counter-attack that opened up the Spanish defense. It was a heartening bit of play for Pakistan, who recently have been criticized for squandering the easiest of chances.
The celebrations though were short-lived as Spain equalized almost immediately, Pau Quemada hammering in a long pass with a stunning reverse shot.
With the game level, the two teams scrapped hard but failed to provide finishing touches to their well-crafted moves.
The resulting 1-1 draw meant the Greenshirt could walk off the pitch with some confidence restored ahead of their encounter against Argentina on Wednesday.
Good show by Pakistan but Sohail needs to regain touch: Islah
Pakistan’s Muhammad Rizwan (Junior) (L) and Spain’s Pablo Amat fight for the ball. -Photo by Reuters
KARACHI: The opening match in any competition is difficult for both the teams but Pakistan on the whole played well against Spain on Monday to earn a draw, says Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui.
Speaking to Dawn soon after the match, which saw Spain holding Pakistan to a 1-1 draw, the country’s most successful captain and coach said that he could see that the Green Shirts hadn’t settled in the initial five to 10 minutes of the match as Spain kept the pressure on them.
“Spain were playing fast initially which took Pakistan off guard. And that is why we kept fumbling. But the good thing is that we were able to see off our rough patch without any loss or damage and were even able to come back into the game from that point,” observed Islah.
“We were able to get two penalty-corners and made two field attempts, too. Unfortunately, Sohail Abbas couldn’t convert the penalty-corners when he threw the ball upwards on both attempts, which the tall Spanish goalkeeper had no problem blocking. Had he sent one lower and one upwards, it could have worked. Then it would also have been better to aim at the corners of the goalpost rather than its middle both the times.”
“Also I noticed that even though he had the speed there was no accuracy in Sohail’s shots. That’s why I believe that he should work more on his accuracy and concentrate on angular shots,” Islah pointed out.
About the game’s second half, the former captain said that it was okay although Pakistan’s forward line missed two or three good chances. “Waqas Sharif missed one and Haseem Khan another,” he said.
“Now, you only get as many good chances in big matches and you can’t get very far if you don’t utilise them. For the next matches,” Islah stressed, “the team coaches should be able to control the misses. If Sohail is unable to convert the penalty-corners, they should let Mohammad Imran take them.”
Islah went on to add: “Luckily for Pakistan, Spain, too, missed three to four scoring chances which also included three penalty-corners. But then they equalised seconds after Pakistan scored through Rehan Butt. We should not have let our defence relax due to which Spain’s counter attack met with hundred per cent success. The next instant saw them attacking again, which resulted in their getting a penalty-corner. We are lucky to have survived that.”
For next time, Islah advised that Pakistan should take care not to give big gaps for the opponents to get in and score.
“Thankfully we are still very much in the race and will remain so if we keep on performing well, which will only happen if we control our missing, avail our chances and not let our defense relax,” he concluded.
Pakistan play their next match against Argentina on Wednesday.
Spirited Pakistan play 1-1 draw against Spain
Australia crush South Africa 6-0, South Korea outplay New Zealand 2-0
By Muhammad Ali
LONDON: Led by sharp shooter Sohail Abbas, spirited Pakistan started their Olympic campaign by playing 1-1 draw against Spain in their opening match of the London Olympics 2012 Men’s Field Hockey Tournament at Riverbank Arena, Olympic Sports Park here on Monday. Rehan Butt was the scorer for the national side while Pau Quemada of Spain netted the equaliser for his team. In the earlier matches of the day, Australia crushed South Africa 6-0 while South Korea outplayed New Zealand 2-0.
Pakistan and Spain played a fast paced first half with many turn-overs and unforced errors. Pakistan were left to grapple with their captain Sohail being shown the green card in the 8th minute, to serve a two minute suspension. The first chance was for Pakistan on penalty-corner, and Sohail, the master in this exercise, nearly hit the target, his powerful flick barely deflected on the crossbar by Francisco Cortes in the Spanish goal. Spain were equally unsuccessful a few minutes later at the other end, with Pakistan salvaged by a superb stick save on the line by Muhammad Irfan.
Neither team could take control of play, making for an exciting match with attacks flowing swiftly back and forth. Spain tried to develop collective moves, but the Pakistan defenders were closing very quickly on them, leaving them no time to manoeuver. Pakistan used their speed to mount speedy counter-attacks and created good chances. Spain had a tough time containing Pakistan in the closing stages of the period, but survived to reach half-time on a goalless score. Pakistan came out into the second half with a bit more drive with Rehan opening Pakistan’s account by scoring in the 45th minute of the game. Silver medallists from Beijing Olympics 2008 and 5th in the world rankings, Spain, though reacted almost immediately after Quemada latched onto a pass right down the middle and slotted expertly in the 46th minute of the game. Spain scored again, but it was disallowed by the referee.
Mohammad Umar Bhutta was the second Pakistan player to be shown the green card. In the last 15 minutes, both teams had chances to make the break, but consistently struggled in the last pass or final shot. No more goals were scored and the match ended on a draw that is a good result for Pakistan, ranked 3 rows behind Spain, but might hurt Spain’s chances to reach the semi-finals.Pakistan coach Khawaja Muhammad Junaid said Pakistan played well but were unable to convert penalty corners. “We should have defeated Spain. But we missed our chances. There was no issue with the blue pitch but we should have played with more precision,” he added. “We made several errors in first half. It is always difficult when you do not convert your chances when you have them.”
World champs Australia launch their campaign in style: Captain Jamie Dwyer scored a hat-trick as world champions Australia launched their Olympic campaign with a 6-0 victory over South Africa.
Dwyer’s three strikes helped him equal the Australian record of 179 international goals held by Mark Hager, who is coach of the New Zealand team at these Olympics. Dwyer was instrumental in earning both penalty strokes that he went on to convert and also scored on a penalty corner as Australia outplayed South Africa in the Pool A match. Australia fired four goals in the second session. Matthew Butturini, Christopher Ciriello and Glenn Turner scored the other three goals. South Korea held off a late New Zealand charge to post a 2-0 win in the Pool B. You Hyo-Sik scored two field goals for South Korea.
The Daily Times
Pakistan, Spain play 1-1 draw
By Anisuddin Khan
LONDON - Pakistan kept its reputation intact when it avoided a much-expected losing start as they drew the opening match one all against a better ranked Spain here on the blue pitch of the River Bank hockey arena on Monday.
Almost a packed stadium applauded Pakistan more for its artistry than the robustness of their opponent. Whenever Pakistanis made an eye pleasing combined move the spectators applauded it. Pakistan will play its next match against Argentina on August 1. After a barren first half, Pakistan took the lead in the 48th minute through Rehan Butt on a pass from Haseem Khan. Spain counter attacked with a fast move that brought the equaliser for the Spaniards through Pau Quemada on a field effort.
Soon after the push off, the possession of the ball mostly remained with the Spaniards but it was Pakistan which dominated the half during which it missed three gilt edged chances and the two penalty corners unfortunately could not be converted although the pushes from Sohail Abbas were perfectly good.
Pakistan’s first serious move came shortly after Spain got its first penalty corner which was saved on the goalline by M Irfan. In the counter attack Pakistanis moved quickly in opponent’s danger zone and almost scored. But the cross from the right went a begging. Later, twice in quick successions, M Rizwan came within the sight of hitting the board but on both the times the opportunities were missed.
Pakistanis gave no impression of being in any manner not good on playing on the blue pitch. It seems that unlike the green astro turf, the blue pitch need less water and moving with the ball looks less cumbersome as it looked on the heavily-watered green pitch. Blue pitch looks faster than its green brother. As was expected, the Spaniards started on a fast pace. Pakistan had always fallen to the tricks of European opponents who start furiously to unsettle the slow moving but technically high Pakistanis but they survived the opening salvo from Spain that lasted for ten minutes.
At this stage skipper Sohail used his experience to relieve the pressure and started scooping the ball into the Spain’s areas that had good effect. The Spaniards went on to defence and for a while forget to attack. Pakistan started with a line-up that had no place for Rehan known for his pinch scoring. The team management gave the impression that he might be used later on when the heat is turned on the opponents.
At the post match media conference both, captain Sohail and manager Akhtar Rasool looked relieved because Pakistan had not lost any point but won one. A winning start would have been better, former Olympian Akhtar Rasool said and added Pakistan would try to get all the points in next matches as Pakistan needed them to reach the semi-final. Sohail said in competition like Olympics the teams need maturity and said the senior had done fine in the opening match. They would certainly improve in the next matches, he said.
AFP adds: Captain Jamie Dwyer scored a hat-trick as Australia launched their Olympic campaign with a thumping 6-0 victory over South Africa. Dwyer's three strikes helped him equal the Australian record of 179 international goals held by Mark Hager, who is coach of the New Zealand team at these Olympics.
Dwyer opened the scoring in the 16th minute for Australia with a penalty stroke after he was brought down by a defender inside the circle. Dwyer then set up the second Australian goal two minutes before half-time with a pass that Matthew Butturini deflected in. Christopher Ciriello converted a penalty corner in the 46th minute before Dwyer fired in a penalty corner in the 48th and then forced another penalty stroke that he converted in the 58th. Glenn Turner rounded off the Australian scoring with a field goal in the 62nd minute.
Yu Hyo-Sik scored two field goals for South Korea against New Zealand. "I'm excited about scoring twice as I've been waiting for a goal on the international stage for a long time," said Yu, who deflected diagonal crosses past New Zealand goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.
Robert van der Horst and Rod Weusthof put the Dutch 2-0 ahead against India but Dharamvir clawed one back for India from a post rebound and Shivendra three minutes later. But the Dutch converted two out of two penalty corners with Mink van der Weerden flicking a snorter for the decisive goal.
Day 3 Olympic Preview - GB v Korea
GB women applauding the crowds after their opening win against Japan
Korea, who are ranked 8th in the world, are GB's second opponents in the pool stages of the Olympic Games.
Fixture: Great Britain v Korea
Date and time: 31/07/2012 - 16.00
Location: Riverbank Arena
Watch live on BBC: Olympics 10 (red button for Sky, Virgin & Freesat)
Great Britain #4
Head to Head Record
Goals For: 38
Goals Against: 49
GB recently played Korea at the Olympic Test Event in May 2012, winning 1 – 0. It was a day of celebrations all round as Alex Danson capped her milestone 50th international appearance for GB with the winning goal. In the same fixture, Kate Walsh joined an exclusive club of nine players, and impressively won her 100th cap for GB. The last time that GB faced Korea in an Olympic Games was Sydney 2000, which saw the result end in a 2 – 2 draw.
Player to watch: Great Britain
London 2012 will be Alex Danson’s second Olympic Games. Alex was just 16 when she made her senior international debut in 2001, when she was also runner up in the BBC Young Sports Personality of the Year. A team regular, she was named in the International Hockey Federation’s World All Stars Team 2011. Her superb goal helped England defeat Germany to win the bronze medal at the 2010 World Cup. In May 2012, Alex suffered a scare at the Olympic Test Event when she injured her shoulder in a collision with an Argentinean opponent as GB won the competition. Fortunately, she has since recovered and her superb prowess will provide GB with a great attacking force at the Olympics. In GB's opening Olympic fixture, Danson put two past Japan and will be hoping to add to this in tonight's match against Korea.
Players to watch: Korea
We asked the GB team who they consider are the 'players to watch':
Name: Lee Seon Ok
Captaining the side, Lee Seon Ok is a defensive rock for Korea. She is very commanding and dominates the defensive line with decisive play and solid tackles.
Name: Park Seon Mi (pictured above right)
Position: Centre forward
As a former winner of the FIH Young Player of the Year Award, Park is a talented player and great goal scorer. Her crafty play inside the circle means she is capable of winning many short corners and creating a lot goal scoring opportunities for Korea.
Great Britain Hockey media release
U.S. faces familiar opponent in second prelim match
LONDON - The U.S. will compete against its second opponent in Pool B, No. 2 world ranked Argentina on Wednesday, 1 August, at 7:00 p.m. The match will be broadcast live on the MSNBC at 2:00 p.m. ET.
The recent history between Argentina and the U.S. further intensifies tomorrow’s match on the infamous blue and pink turf.
Rewinding back to last November, the then No. 13 world ranked U.S upset the previously world ranked No. 1 Argentinians in a 4-2 battle at the Pan American Games. Prior to the 2011 Pan American Games, Argentina had never lost a game in the tournament since its induction in 1987. The monumental victory over Argentina automatically qualified the U.S. for the London Olympics - capturing the attention of the hockey world and once again proving their selves as an international threat.
In June the two teams met again for a four game series in Virginia Beach, Va. The tournament concluded with a draw. Argentina and the U.S. each secured a single win and shared two ties.
Argentina left their first London Olympic performance on Sunday with a win of 7-1 over South Africa.
The U.S. has proven numerous times to be fierce competition for Argentina and is confident a win is within reach in their second London Olympic match.
"We are looking forward to facing Argentina, a very familiar opponent for us," says Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. "It is well documented that we qualified for the Olympics by beating them in the Pan American Games. We feel we match up well against them and will be expecting to elevate our performance as we will have to to get the result we need.”
USFHA media release
Hager expects scrap against South Africa
Charlotte Harrison battles for the ball in the Black Sticks win over Australia. Iain McGregor/Fairfax NZ
There were pats and slaps and sticks hoisted into the air and then there was Mark Hager's reaction.
The Black Sticks women's coach celebrated Sunday's 1-0 victory over Australia for all of 60 seconds and then quickly switched his attention to their next opponents South Africa (tonight at 9.45pm NZ time).
Hager wants six points in the bag after the opening two rounds of the Olympic hockey tournament at Riverbank Arena and that requires victory over what he regards as the most improved team in the women's game.
"South Africa are a real threat. They have some real firepower," he said.
"If we lose to South Africa it means we are back in the pack so we will put this one to bed and fight and scrap and claw.
"We would love to be on six points after two games but we know that won't be an easy task. South Africa are a quality team. They have been getting better over the last 12 months so they are a real danger for all teams in the competition."
Black Sticks captain Kayla Sharland is also wary of South Africa. She remarked before the tournament started that South Africa had based themselves in Europe for long periods over the past year and played close to 100 games against various opposition.
There might have been cause to reassess the captain and coach's assessment of South Africa after they were hammered 7-1 by Argentina on Sunday but whether the latter is just world class or the former over-rated won't be truly known until nearer 11 o'clock tonight.
"I think our pool will be damn close and come down to the last couple of days," Hager said.
"We play Germany and Aussie play Argentina and United States play South Africa so we could have all six teams playing for a semifinal spot."
So what's to be done?
Hager thought the Black Stcks turned over too much ball going forward against Australia and were guilty of playing too much down the middle rather than using the wings.
But there was much to admire about the win too, the first by the Black Sticks over Australia at an Olympics. This is a fit and fast team, most notably Anita Punt who, so the story goes, can beat some of the Black Sticks men in a 40m sprint.
The Black Sticks showed plenty of ticker too, which was evident when they defended in numbers to cover for Melody Cooper, who was sinbinned for 10 minutes in the second half against Australia.
Hager has his senior players Sharland, Emily Naylor, Charlotte Harrison and Clarissa Eshuis firing and his younger ones believing in themselves and on the evidence of Sunday, none more so than left half Samantha Charlton, 20.
Australian coach Adam Commens rates the Black Sticks highly.
"They have five or six world class players and they played well today," he said.
"They have the ability to beat any side. What we saw today was as good as I've seen them play, particularly in defence. They are a team on the up and certainly capable of winning medals."
The Black Sticks women have a modest Olympic record, their best finish being sixth in both 2000 (Sydney) and 2004 (Athens).
They were 12th and last in Beijing four years ago. If they beat South Africa tonight, and get a point or three against Argentina on Friday morning (NZ time) then that modest record might change.
Aussies 'cruelly hurt' in hockey loss to NZ
REASON TO SMILE: The Black Sticks celebrate the winning goal against Australia. Iain McGregor/Fairfax NZ
Black Sticks men lose opener to Korea Black Sticks defeat Australia in first match Black Sticks facing 'do or die' vs Hockeyroos Football Ferns, Black Sticks battle for respect Black Sticks men target semifinals in London Peak demands overlap for a sporting couple Sleep part of Black Sticks' early-start strategy Black Sticks primed to punch above weight Black Sticks dismiss spy claims from Australia Hockeyroos warm up for Kiwis against GB
Legendary Australian hockey coach Ric Charlesworth has hit out at the umpiring at the Olympics, believing the Hockeyroos were hard done by in their 1-0 loss to the Black Sticks women.
Charlesworth coaches the Australian men's team these days after a stunning stint with the women's team that brought them gold at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics. He had a spell as High Performance Manager with New Zealand's cricket team between the jobs but reserves a deep love for the women's game.
He was asked his views of the women's Olympic opener between the trans-Tasman rivals and didn't hold back.
"Hopefully we won't get major mess ups, but of course our women's team were cruelly hurt by the decisions (on Sunday) and I think they got it wrong," Charlesworth said.
"It hurt the girls and of course, it's really important in these tournaments.
"Hopefully we avoid major mess ups, (but) I've seen in big games things that make a difference.
"The umpires also have the capacity with the big decisions to refer it themselves and I hope they use that."
Australia's Emily Smith was denied a penalty corner when she went down in the circle, with the video referral ruling there was insufficient contact from the New Zealand defenders to force a penalty corner.
Smith was also controversially denied a goalscoring opportunity with Kiwi goalkeeper Bianca Russell, ruling she wasn't infringed.
The Hockeyroos, now coached by Adam Commens, now face an uphill battle to finish in the top two of the powerful group and advance to the semifinals. It's advantage New Zealand on that front.
Meanwhile, Charlesworth's men's side beat South Africa 6-0 in their opening match.
Scotland Women squad for FIH World League
Cat Ralph vs SA
Scotland Women Head Coach Gordon Shepherd has selected his squad of 18 players for the inaugural FIH World League Round 1 in Prague next month.
Taking place on 14-19 August, the Scots will play host nation Czech Republic, Turkey, Belarus, Italy and France for a place in the next stage of the competition.
Looking forward to the FIH World League, Shepherd commented:
"We're confident going into this competition and very much looking forward to it. We're the highest ranked team, although we won't underestimate the lower ranked opposition in Prague given we've caused a few upsets at recent tournaments. However, the players and I are certainly focussed on winning the first round of the World League."
Shepherd's squad does not contain any major surprises, although a welcome bonus for the Dundonian is that he been able to recall Great Britain international Vikki Bunce into the squad for the tournament. The VWS Dundee Wanderers star has been released from the Great Britain camp and will bring both great experience and attacking threat to the Scotland set-up.
Stalwart Linda Clement will continue as captain of the side and will be supported by Cat Ralph and Leigh Fawcett as vice-captains following the retirement of Kat Cameron after the South Africa series earlier this summer.
"I didn't think it would happen but it's a real bonus to have Vikki Bunce back in the side. Aileen Davies, Susan McGilveray and Nikki Lloyd have also forced their way into the squad after excellent performances. I'm happy with the squad", said Shepherd.
The FIH World League is a new competition for both male and female international teams and gives every member of the FIH the opportunity to play for a place in the FIH World Cup. The FIH World League, which has also previously been referred to as the World Series, will be played in four rounds.
The first two rounds will take place in the 2012 calendar year, while the third and fourth rounds will conclude the cycle in 2013. During the 2012-2013 seasons, the FIH World League will enable four teams to qualify directly into the 2014 FIH World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.
Scotland Women: Amy Gibson, Morag McLellan, Catriona Ralph (v/c), Susan McGilveray, Holly Cram (all Milne Craig Clydesdale Western), Linda Clement (c), Nicki Cochrane, Ailsa Wyllie, Ali Bell, Leigh Fawcett (v/c) (all Grove Menzieshill), Vikki Bunce, Rebecca Ward (both VWS Dundee Wanderers), Samantha Judge (Edinburgh University), Kareena Marshall (Giffnock), Aileen Davies (Clifton HC), Nikki Lloyd (Seven Oaks HC), Nikki Kidd (Mannheimer HC), Becky Merchant (Surbiton HC).
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Qataris to turn out for Johor
By Jugjet Singh
QATAR players will make their presence felt in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) again on Sept 1 but this time they will be turning out for a Johor outfit.
Last season, five Qatar players played for UiTM in the Premier Division, but the University side still ended eighth in the nine-team event.
This season, the Qatar players will be with Johor in Division One.
"Johor will be fielding a team in Division One of the MHL this season, and with help of former international Shaiful Azli, we have managed to secure some Qatar players," said Johor HA deputy president Manjit Majid Abdullah.
Saiful is now coaching in Qatar, and he also helped UitM to secure players from that country last season.
"We are a new team but still, we have set a target of finishing top two in Division One. I believe this is just not a pipe dream, but can be achieved," said Manjit.
And in the Premier Division, only six teams will compete compared to nine last season.
Double champions KL Hockey Club, Sapura, Maybank, UniKL, TNB and Nur Insafi are expected to battle for the Premier title.
Yayasan Negri Sembilan pulled out after one season due to financial reasons, while UiTM and Armed Forces have said that they want to play in Division One instead of the challenging Premier Division.
New Straits Times
HI enters into broadcast deal with ESPN-STAR
NEW DELHI: Hockey India has entered into a multi-year broadcast agreement with sports broadcaster ESPN STAR Sports for the telecast of the Test matches to be played in the country for the next five years and the soon-to-be-launched Hockey India League (HIL).
In a multi-year deal, ESPN STAR Sports has been granted global telecast rights for the professional hockey league.
The FIH approved league will see national as well as international hockey stars showcase their prowess. The first edition of the league is expected to be played in the month of January next year.
The league will comprise at least six franchise hockey teams and will feature 33 matches to be played across the country.
All teams will play each other on a home and away basis (30 league matches) followed by the semifinals and the final.
Hockey India further announced that ESPN STAR Sports will have the global broadcast rights to telecast at least five international hockey Test matches every year under Hockey India to be played in India for the next five years.
The number of matches that India will play against top international opposition could go up depending on the finalisation of the series schedule.
"We are delighted to have ESPN STAR Sports as our broadcast partners. Hockey India has a clear vision - we want to revive the glory days of hockey in India and drive popularity of the game across the country. This partnership with ESPN STAR Sports will play a key role in our overall plans," Hockey India secretary general and Hockey India League chairman Dr Narinder Batra said.
"The proposed league (HIL) will be the biggest initiative that hockey has ever seen in India. We have been working out the details for months now and I am glad to announce that things are quickly falling into place. I am confident that our partners ESPN STAR Sports will help us deliver a flawless world class product."
The Times of India