12th January 2018: 8 games and 59 goals from 35 players as the EuroHockey Indoor season got underway in the stunning 7,000 Lotto Arena here in Antwerp.
Match 1 Poland 10 – 3 (2 – 2) Denmark
Poland dominated an inexperienced Danish team and in spite of the 2-2 halftime score, Poland always looked like they would ensure the win and with 8 goals and 1 reply in the second half, they got their campaign off to the right start.
Match 2 Germany 8 – 1 (3 – 0) Czech Republic
Germany, ranked as favourites certainly gave the crowd something to cheer about as they romped home with an 8-1 win over a decent Czech team.
Match 3 Austria 5 – 0 (2 – 0) Switzerland
The Austrians are here to win, and they set our their stall with a solid performance and a 5-0 win over Switzerland.
Match 4 Russia 1 – 5 (1 – 2) Belgium
Closer than the scoreline would suggest, the home team battled to find the net in their opening game of the Championships against a Russian team with plenty of strength. A loud home crowd egged their team on to a 5-1 win and 3 points on the board.
Match 5 Czech Republic 9 – 1 (5 – 0) Denmark
The afternoon session started with a Czech team knowing that they needed to make sure that they got 3 points from this game and put themselves in contention after their stinging 1-8 loss to Germany. They started with a fast paced attach and clocked up 5 goals in the opening 20 minutes, finishing the game 9-1. As goal difference could be the difference between a semi-final place and the relegation pool, the Czech team could show no mercy.
Match 6 Poland 1 – 8 (0 – 4) Germany
Germany established themselves at the top of Pool A with a win over Poland. The used the power play early in the game efficiently to put themselves in a 4-0 lead at the break, a second 4 goals with only one reply from Poland put them on 6 points and a 14 goal advantage over Czech Republic who lie in second place, followed by Poland, only one goal separating them. Denmark had a rough start to the tournament today with a minus goal difference of 15, they are looking to continue to grow and learn here in Antwerp.
We had a chance to catch up with Moritz Fuerste after Germany’s second game today. He had high praise for the younger players on the team.
Game 7 Russia 2 – 2 (0 – 0) Austria
The only draw of the day and one that put both teams in the difficult position of needing a win tomorrow to secure a semi-final slot. Koerper, with a typical bullet penalty corner slotted home in the final minute of the game kept Austria in the hunt for semi-final glory, they are in second place overall in the Pool after the hosts pulled off their second win of the day.
Game 8 Switzerland 1 – 2 (1 – 2) Belgium
Belgium delivered a second win of the tournament and a semi-final slot courtesy of a tight win over Switzerland. The Belgians looked less comfortable than their earlier win, but are top of the pool overnight. Speaking with captain Renaud Pangrazio he said that they had “exceeded expectations” he added that the team had stuck to the coaching plan and were delighted with the home support, which he hoped would grow over the weekend. They face a tough game against Austria tomorrow as they would like to avoid, if possible, the German’s in the semi-final.
Tomorrow’s morning session:
09:00 Germany v Denmark
10:10 Czech Republic v Poland
11.20 Switzerland v Russia
12.30 Austria v Belgium
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ALL GAMES are livestreamed on www.eurohockeytv.org