The Fans of HockeyEventsChampions TrophyEuropean Teams Dominate the Champions Trophy Opening Day in Bhubaneswar

On the opening day of Hero Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 in Bhubaneswar, European Teams dominate the turf, with England, Belgium, Netherlands and Germany winning their matches against non-European rivals Australia, Pakistan, Argentina and hosts India by 3-1, 2-1, 3-0 and 1-0 respectively.

Nikkin Thimmaiah of India racing for the ball against Germany during Hero Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 in Bhubaneswar

Nikkin Thimmaiah of India racing for the ball against Germany during Hero Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 in Bhubaneswar

In the last match of the day, Florian Fuchs sent the ball into the goal, beating eventual man of the match Indian Goalkeeper PR Sreejesh to win the match for his team. Fuchs found the target with a backhander in the last-minute to take the game away from the hosts India, who otherwise matched quite the London Olympic Gold Medalists Germany.

Speaking on the team performance, PR Sreejesh, player of the match “Germany was a very tough match. They played very well and scored in the last moment but I appreciate my team mates who put in a full performance while our forwards made some good attacks which we couldn’t turn into a goal. In future matches, we will rectify that.

England stunned the World Champions Australia 3-1 in the opening match of Hero Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 in Bhubaneswar. Coach Bobby Crutchley’s team made a fast start to the first quarter and on six minutes Wimbledon’s Alastair Brogdon robbed Jeremy Hayward just outside the Kookaburras’ circle, rounded the goalkeeper and fired home a lovely reverse stick shot to make it 1-0 and later in the game a double by debutant Sam Ward won the game for the England.

England debutant Sam Ward celebrate his goal against Australia during Hero Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 in Bhubaneswar (India) (Credits: World Sport Pics / England Hockey)

England debutant Sam Ward celebrate his goal against Australia during Hero Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 in Bhubaneswar (India) (Credits: World Sport Pics / England Hockey)

In the second quarter George Pinner was called upon to see off a couple of good attacks by Australia including gloving away a fierce reverse stick strike from Matt Gohdes. At the other end, Henry Weir swapped passes with Nick Catlin and drew a good save from Andrew Charter in the Kookaburras’ goal. Australia built some good pressure but were unable to capitalise on it and with three minutes left to half time England doubled their lead. Ollie Willars fired the ball into the danger area and although David Condon’s deflection came back off the post, Sam Ward slotted home the rebound to send England in 2-0 up at the break; it was the Beeston striker’s first goal for England on his debut and gave his side some much-needed breathing space.

Australia continued to press in the third quarter but England defended well to keep them at bay and even created chances of their own. Ashley Jackson played Barry Middleton in on the right and his slapped strike was saved by substitute goalkeeper Tyler Lovell. The Australian goalkeeper was called upon to keep out a penalty corner from Jackson and then at the other end, Pinner did well to see off another chance from the Kookaburras.

 The final quarter followed much the same pattern as England sat deep and tried to keep Australia at arm’s length. Jacob Whetton went close with a deflection but England stood firm. With six minutes remaining Australia hit back. Chris Ciriello found the bottom corner from a penalty corner to set up a nervy finish for England. The nerves didn’t last long however, as a moment of high drama followed. Australia forced a penalty corner with four minutes left. The ball cannoned back off the post before Barry Middleton cleared off the line brilliantly. England swept forward and Ward spun and slotted home with a lovely finish to make it 3-1. Australia claimed they had requested a video referral before the goal, but after a long consultation from the video umpire the goal was awarded and England were home and dry with three points on the board.

Belgium edged past Pakistan 2-1 to start their Champions Trophy campaign on winning note. Tanguy Cosyns gave the European side lead in 12th minute when he found the target on the right post in scramble. Asian Games 2014 Silver medalists Pakistan restored the parity when a flick on penalty corner found body and penalty stroke was awarded in 36th minute, which their captain Muhmmad Imran converted comfortably. Thomas Briels scored the winning goal in 43rd minute on a pass from Tom Boon, after he dribble past a couple of defenders.

World Cup Silver Medalists Netherlands defeated Argentina 3-0 their opening match of the Champions Trophy 2014 in Bhubaneswar. Mink van der Weerden’s drag-flick was on target in 12th minute as the European side failed to convert 4 other penalty corners in the first quarter. Mr. Backhand Robbert Kemperman doubled the lead after he converted a beautiful pass from Sander Baart with a reverse stick strike in 19th minute. Diede van Puffelen scored his first international goal to make it tally 3-0 and take the game away from Rabobank World Cup 2014 Bronze Medalists Argentina.

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