Belgium’s Red Lions made the biggest impact on the opening morning of the men’s Olympic Games with a powerful 4-1 win over Great Britain to start Pool A in style.
It was down to a breathtaking second half in which – from 1-1 – Tanguy Cosyns, Simon Gougnard and Cedric Charlier all scored as they were good value for their success. Jerome Truyens and Nick Catlin had earlier exchanged goals during a closer phase of the game.
It gives an early impetus in Pool A where Australia beat New Zealand 2-1. Spain begin their campaign in the evening session against Brazil.
In Pool B, Ireland’s return to the Olympic games after a 108-year wait did not prove to be a fairytale, falling 3-2 to India with all five goals coming from penalty corners.
For Conor Harte, it was a disappointing start after their historic qualification: “We wanted to play the game, and not the occasion and that’s the most important thing. At times, we let the occasion get to us.
“Ultimately, losing. We were here for a result and we didn’t come away with anything so it’s very disappointing.”
The Netherlands tied 3-3 with Argentina in a spectacular affair. The Dutch led 3-1 after 41 minutes thanks to goals from Jeroen Hertzberger, Mink van der Weerden and Seve van Ass but final quarter efforts from Lucas Vila and Matias Paredes saw the South American side land a draw.
Speaking afterwards, Dutch coach Max Caldas said: “As a coach you always want to win but if you ask me, this is better than we had won 4-1 or 5-1, I say, secretly, this is better.
“Only the finishing could have been better. We had maybe one or two goals more that we left behind which is now on our to-do list.”
The Netherlands play Ireland in their next tie on Sunday evening.