Alex Danson’s quality 42nd minute goal earned Great Britain a hugely significant 2-1 win over Australia in one of two big games played in the women’s competition on the opening of Olympic action.
Lily Owsley opened the scoring from a lovely interchange via Hollie Webb to Shona McCallin and on to Sophie Bray for the lead in the 26th minute.
Australia responded with an excellent Georgina Morgan drag-flick from the left of the circle finding a delicious angle into the right side of the goal.
GB replied, though, with Danson’s glorious goal. Laura Unsworth’s long ball split the Australian defence before McCallin threw a brilliant dummy to leave the last defender backpedalling. Susannah Townsend took on the ball before squaring for Danson.
Her initial control meant she could not score on the open side but, no matter, she flipped the ball onto the reverse and shot high past Rachael Lynch.
The United States opened the women’s competition with an impressive 2-1 win over Pan-American rivals Argentina, repeating their victory of four years ago in London against the same opponents.
Back then, it was 1-0 and, this time, Craig Parnham’s side showed why they are considered a dark horse for a medal. Katie Reinprecht’s opening goal had a touch of fortune to it, her shot from a tight angle slipping through Belen Succi’s pads.
Michelle Kasold redirected in a corner for the second goal. Delfina Merino got one back with a few minutes left but the US got over the line for another famous win over their old enemy.
Speaking about the win, Parnham said: “I think the difference was our group came together in the second quarter. It was our defense that kept us resolute, giving us a nice platform to play off, giving us good chances to score. Argentina is a great team, and I’m sure they’ll do well in this tournament but that’s a great start for us.”