Olympic Games – Pool A
Great Britain 1 Germany 2
Great Britain’s defence of their Olympic title began with a defeat as Germany came from behind to win 2-1 on the North Pitch at the Oi Hockey Stadium.
The heat required the breaks at the end of the first and third quarters to be extended to four minutes, but it was Germany, ranked third in the world, who remained cool and collected to secure the win.
Great Britain pressurized the German defence early, Shona McCallin having a shot on goal in the first twenty seconds, but will need to work on their penalty corner routine as they only converted one of nine awards, including three in the first four minutes.
Maddie Hinch made her first save from Lisa Altenburg in the tenth minute and captain, Hollie Pearne-Webb snuffed out a German attack as the momentum shifted slightly.
The breakthrough came in the 13th minute, Giselle Ansley having her shot from Great Britain’s fourth penalty corner saved by Julia Sonntag, only for the ball to be poked home by Sarah Jones at the right post with Lily Owsley hovering in front of goal.
Ironically, Germany had challenged the award, but were allowed to keep their video referral after no advice was deemed possible. A minute later, Franzisca Hauke became the second German player to see green after Anne Schröder was sent to the sin-bin in the seventh minute.
Germany drew level in the 24th minute from the penalty spot. Again, no advice was deemed possible when Great Britain challenged the decision, so kept their referral with the stroke allowed to stand. Hinch was unlucky as Viktoria Huse mistimed her effort, but the ball crept inside the left post whilst Hinch was sent the other way.
Great Britain went close to restoring their lead towards the end of the first half, Ellie Rayer’s cross from the left passing Hannah Martin before she could make contact with her outstretched stick, then Martin herself having a shot which was deflected narrowly past the left post by a German defender.
The deciding goal came in the 33rd minute after both Martin and Sarah Robertson had shots saved by Sonntag. Germany mounted a counter attack with Pia Maertens racing across to the right from the centre of the pitch to gain possession and cross for Charlotte Stapenhorst to finish in clinical fashion, Maertens running behind the goal in celebration.
Five minutes later, Great Britain lost their video referral challenging Germany’s first penalty corner, Nike Lorenz forcing a save. In the 41st minute, Great Britain’s penalty corner woes continued as Ansley was denied again.
Another barrage of three successive penalty corners in the 47th minute were successfully defended by the German defence. Great Britain were given a golden opportunity to get back into the match when Huse was shown a yellow card with six minutes to play, but Germany managed to keep possession and occasionally look dangerous while running out the suspension. Even Head Coach, Mark Hager looked frustrated when Great Britain’s ninth penalty corner resulted in Pearne-Webb firing the ball past the right post with two minutes to play.
Great Britain will aim to regroup when they take on South Africa on Monday at 10.30 am BST. South Africa lost 2-0 to Ireland in their first match.
Scorer: Sarah Jones 13-PC
Starters: Maddie Hinch (GK); Laura Unsworth, Anna Toman, Sarah Jones, Susannah Townsend, Sarah Robertson, Ellie Rayer, Giselle Ansley, Hollie Pearne-Webb (Capt.), Shona McCallin, Lily Owsley.
Subs: Hannah Martin (5 mins), Leah Wilkinson (5), Fiona Crackles (5), Izzy Petter (6), Grace Balsdon (6).
Cards: Green: Leah Wilkinson (36 mins).
Scorers: Viktoria Huse 24-PS, Charlotte Stapenhorst 33-F
Starters: Kira Horn, Amelie Wortmann, Nike Lorenz (Capt.), Selin Oruz, Anne Schröder, Lena Micheel, Sonja Zimmermann, Lisa Altenburg, Julia Sonntag (GK), Cecile Pieper, Viktoria Huse.
Subs: Charlotte Stapenhorst (1 min), Franzisca Hauke (1 min), Pia Maertens (5), Jette Fleschütz (6 mins), Hanna Granitzki (6 mins).
Cards: Green: Anne Schröder (7 mins), Franzisca Hauke (14 mins). Yellow: Viktoria Huse (54 mins).
Umpires: Xiaoying Chan (CHN) and Irene Presenqui (ARG).