Pool A got the EuroHockey Championship underway this morning in Minsk. Current Champions Germany lay on top of the pool after the first round of games with a better goal difference than Ukraine.
In Pool B the hosts got off to the perfect start with a 7-2 victory over recently promoted Austria. The Netherlands laid down a marker with a confident 5-0 victory over Switzerland
The second session started with Czech Republic v Belgium, a critical game for both teams to try and get points on the board. Czech took the points and the 3rd slot overnight. Germany and Ukraine delivered the game of the day, with the spoils going to Germany after a 3-4 battle.
Ranking Pool A:
Ranking Pool B:
An experienced Ukraine came out winners in this close encounter with newly-promoted Belgium. Belgium did go ahead in the 10th minute, quickly countered by Ukraine who went ahead with 2 quick goals. The half time score was 2-1. Belgium evened the score early in the second half but Ukraine went ahead twice 4-2. A goal in the final minute wasn’t enough for Belgium and the game ended 4-3 in favour of Ukraine.
The favourites and current Champions Germany proved too strong for the Czech side as they went ahead 2-0 in the first half. An early goal in the second half stretched the lead to 3. Czech did have chances to even the game but they only converted 1 from 6 penalty corners. Germany stretched the lead again and the game ended 4-1 in favour of Germany.
In front of a noisy crowd, the hosts went ahead 4-1 in the first half of the game, making the second half tough for Austria.
The Dutch got off to a dream start again Switzerland with a 5-0 win after a slow start in the first half (half time score was 1-0). A dominant second half gave them the win and 3 points.
A must-win game for both teams to get on the points sheet. Czech dominated the first half and got their reward in the 6th minute. The first half ended 1-0 in favour of the Czech Republic. A second goal in the third quarter doubled the score for Czech. Belgium went for a power play in the final quarter to claw back on the goal difference, but they conceded two. Another late goal from Belgium was not enough to change the result.
A top of the table clash as Ukraine faced Germany. A 1-1 scoreline was a good reflection of the first half. A stellar performance from the Ukraine defence and their keeper, in particular, kept Germany from scoring from their corners. Germany went 3-1 up just before the end of the 3rd quarter. Two quick goals from Ukraine and the game was drawn, but Germany finally converted a pc in the 37th minute to take the points and top the pool overnight.
Austria looked more confident and composed than their earlier game. Knowing that the points would be critical for perhaps staying in the event, they went ahead 2-0 in the first quarter with Switzerland getting one back at the end of the quarter. Austria added another before half time and headed into the final quarter 3-1. A 4th goal in the 3rd quarter set it up nicely for them. Conceding a stroke early in the 4th quarter, Austria saw their goal advantage diminishing 2-4, but they held on for the 3 points adding two further goals. Final score 2-6 to the Austrians.
Following the opening goal from the Dutch, the home team worked their way back via a direct strike pc in the 4th minute but the Dutch went ahead again and held the lead going into half-time. The Dutch added a 3rd and 4th to bring the score to 1-4 in the final minutes. They held their lead to top the pool overnight.
All photographs: World Sport Pics, Frank Uijlenbroek (C)
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