After the completion of 3 days of Men’s Hockey Competition at Riverbank Arena, the most decorated team in Olympic History with Eight Gold Medals – India is yet to earn a point, while defending Champions Germany and Netherlands are the only two teams with 3 wins from 3 matches. Other two unbeaten teams are World Number 1 Australia and Hosts Great Britain, both of them have 7 points from 2 win and a draw each from their matches they played till now.
Ashley JACKSON’s brace and all round performance on the ground propelled the hosts who kept ahead in the race for semi-final. Impressive Great Britain out played Pakistan to score a 4-1 victory to make 2 win and 1 draw from their matches. James TINDALL opened the scorebook for the hosts early in the match. Jonty CLARKE increased the lead to 2-0 in 26th minute. Ashley JACKSON’s slot found the target on PCs in 50th and 67th minute to make it 4-0. Pakistan’s Captain Sohail ABBAS scored his career’s 347th goal in the last minute to reduce the margin.
It elevates Britain to seven points; only second to Australia in the pool rankings on goal difference while Pakistan remain on four points in third place.
efending Champions Germany controlled the game against India to win it 5-2 comfortably. Both the teams started with attacking hockey, but it was Florin FUCHS who drew first blood in the 8th minute. German Goalie Max WEINHOLD defended a flick of Sandeep SINGH on pc, but Raghunath VR found the target in India’s next PC in 13th minute to draw the parity. After that it was Florin FUCHS who scored once again to restore the lead. Germany controlled the game and the Indian Goalie PR Sreejesh worked hard, but he had no reply to Oliver KORN’s rising slap shot from a close range, which hit the roof of net to make it 3-1 in favor of Germany. Christopher WESLEY scored one more just before the half time to hooter to take his side to a comfortable lead of 4-1.
Germany started again with attack and Florian FUCHS found target in the opening minute of 2nd half to complete his hat-trick. India tried hard to get themselves going but Max WEINHOLD was between Sandeep SINGH’s drag flick and nets once again and Indians messed up another one with week execution. Though India scored their second goal of the day through Tushar KHANDKER, it was too little and too late for them. India is the only team without scoring any points in the competition so far.
Earlier the day started with a surprise result, when world number 9 Argentina came from behind (0-2 at half time) to hold current world number side Australia 2-2. The Kookaburras were in control of the match but the wasted opportunities in 2nd half costed them a third straight win.
Matthew BUTTURINI scored for Australia in the 11th minute, while Jamie DWYER found the target, seconds before the half time hooter. The world champions went into lemon break with 2-0 lead, and were expected to continue domination. But the Argentine Captain Mathais VILLA found the target on quick counter attack just after the return from break time to reduce the deficit to 2-1. The early strike by Argentina in 2nd half changed the dynamics of the game.
As usual solid performance by Argentine Goalie Juan Manuel VIVALDI, who guarded his citadel from Australian strikes, while Kookaburras wasted a plenty of chances which came their way. Efficient Argentina made full use of their first penalty-corner of 2nd through Gonzalo PEILLAT to tie the score 2-2 with a couple of minutes left for final hooter, which were full of intensity and eventful, but score stood 2-2 until the hooter.
Despite of an early goal by Simon CHILD for Black Sticks, Netherlands proved to be too strong and clinical of these two athletic teams and won the match 5-1 to make it 3 of 3. In addition to the brace of Billy BAKKER (29-FG and 56”-FG), Roderick WEUSTHOF (16”-PS),van der WEERDEN Mink (27”-PS) and Robbert KEMPERMAN(67-FG) scored one goal for the Oranje’ in their win against Black Sticks to stay on top of Pool B.
In another interesting match of the injury affected Spain registered their first win of the competition to keep their hopes for semifinal alive. South Africa broke the deadlock in 26th minute on PC through Justin REID-ROSS, Marc SALLES reply in 30th minute on PC to go lemon break on level terms. After the break Pau QUEMADA (42”) and Miguel DELAS (55”) scored two more goals to take the game out of reach from South Africa, though Lloyd NORRIS-JONES scored one for the Africans in 63rd minute.
Belgium earned their first victory of the competition over Korea in Pool B. Tom BOON scored for Belgium in 37th minute but Hyun Woo NAM leveled the score for Korea in 46th on a PC. Cedric CHARLIER’s goal for Belgium in 62” minute, not only a created tense moment towards the end of the match, but also dashed the hopes of Korea to be in the final four.
Points Tables after 3 days of MEN’s Hockey Competition at London 2012:
|2 Great Britain||7||3||2||1||0||10||4||6|
|6 South Africa||1||3||0||1||2||4||11||-7|
|5 New Zealand||3||3||1||0||2||4||8||-4|