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Germany, Britain start in convincing fashion PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 13 August 2008

BEIJING, Aug 11 ( - Germany brushed aside hosts China 4-1 in their pool A first round match on Monday as they began their bid for the men's hockey Olympic gold that has eluded them since 1992.

Britain, who gained a Beijing spot at the expense of former giants India in a qualifier, beat another former powerhouse Pakistan 4-2 in their opening pool B game.

Bronze medallists at the 2004 Athens Olympics and World Cup winners in 2006, Germany lost their top-ranking to Australia after finishing fifth behind them in the recent Champions Trophy and are looking to make up for the disappoint.

Speedy striker Florian Keller scored two goals for Germany after Asian Games bronze medallists China, playing in their first Olympics, had drawn first blood through a spectacular effort from Na Yubo who moved in quickly from the right to strike.

After adjusting to China's pace, Germany resumed normal service following Christopher Zeller's equaliser through a penalty corner conversion.

"The Chinese team were very speedy in the first 15 minutes," German captain Timo Wess told reporters through an interpreter. "But after that we got into our normal pace. We also showed very good team work."

Germany were reduced to 10 for a while in the second half due to a yellow card suspension before Carlos Nevado completed the goal glut with a spanking reverse hit.

China's coach Kim Sang Ryul said he was happy with the show put up by the first-timers. "And to get a goal against the world's strongest team, I am happy," the South Korean added.

Britain, who finished ninth at Athens, struck in the second minute through James Tindall. Rob Moore and Ashley Jackson added to the tally for a 3-0 lead.

Pakistan staged a comeback through goals by Shakeel Abbasi and Muhammad Waqas but a penalty corner conversion with eight minutes left by Britain's Matt Daly put the match out of Pakistan's reach.

Britain now face world number three the Netherlands, among the favourites for the gold, on Wednesday.

"We have had our plans for Holland for quite a long time now," coach Jason Lee told a news conference.

"Everyone knows that they are better than us. (But) We will be able to go into the Holland game with the great freedom knowing that we can kind of go for it. Today that was crucial, winning this match."

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