Indoor: Goals Galore for Germany |
February 6, 2003
|Planet Field Hockey
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by Bill Colwill the Independent, London.
It was goals galore for Germany when the first World Indoor Cup
got under way in the magnificent Arena Leipzig as both German sides
confirmed their odds on favourites status. The men started with a
crunching 17-0 win against New Zealand which they followed up later in
the day with a 16-0 win against Russia. The women won 8-2 against
Austria, who were expected to provide the strongest opposition, and then
14-3 against Belarus. There were also two wins for the Polish men and for the French and Dutch women.
The German sides, not surprisingly, contained many of their outdoor
Sydney Olympic squads but it was Philip Sunkel, the 28 year old striker
from the Uhlenhorst Club in Hamburg, who stole the show in their first
game with five goals. Michel Bjorn, making his 274th appearance for his
country also scored five. Sunkel followed up with a hat trick in their
second game against Russia but it was a hat trick of penalty strokes by the German captain Florian Kunz which set the pattern of this game. The strength of the German squad is undoubtedly their all round scoring ability. All their out court players have appeared on the score sheets.
The Dutch men, after an opening 6-1 win against South Africa, then
went down 2-4 to Poland who earlier had beaten the USA 7-1. The Poles
already look the most organised to top the second Pool.
The German women, again with the majority of those who played in
the recent Perth World Cup, were always in control against Austria, with
Natascha Keller, Fanny Rinne and captain Franziska Gude each scoring a brace. Britta Becker, making a return to international hockey after the
birth of her second child, was also on the score sheet. Against Belarus
Keller took her total for the day to six in a game in which the Germans
completely dominated but for a four minute second half spell when they
allowed Belarus to score three goals in swift moves which split the
Lithuania, who beat South Africa 5-0 in their opening match, looked
like creating the first major upset of the championship when they took a
2-0 lead against the Netherlands. Although the Dutch had a penalty stroke saved they eventually got into their stride to win 6-3, with Johanna
Schopman getting a hat trick. The Dutch had earlier disposed of Russia
5-1. The challenge of the Australian women is hard to assess after just one game against Trinidad and Tobago which they won comfortably 7-3 with their captain scoring five times at set pieces.
It was a nightmare introduction for the New Zealand team of all
Indoor specialists and their Australian coach Wayne Blazejczyk. They
ended the day with their second heavy defeat, going down 0-10 to the
Czech Republic. The Mexico women will also be wondering what the rest of the competition has in store for them after 1-8 and 1-9 defeats at the hands of South Africa and France.
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