Fri, Jul 16, 2010 - Page 19 News List

Germany and Japan win Four-Nations thrillers by one goal

AFP , NOTTINGHAM, ENGLAND

Two exciting games saw Germany squeeze past Britain 3-2 and Japan beat New Zealand 4-3 for their first win in the men’s Four-Nations field hockey tournament on Wednesday.

Germany dominated Britain in the first half, scoring twice through Oskar Deecke and Moritz Furste’s penalty stroke. Britain grabbed a lifeline, though, when Simon Mantell deflected in a long pass by Alastair Wilson to make the score 2-1 at the break.

Tobias Lietz put Germany 3-1 up early in the second half when he finished a 70m run by Furste, scoring inside the right post, but the home side came back strongly.

Ashley Jackson reduced the arrears once more when he converted Britain’s sixth penalty corner into the top of the net. The British continued to press and had three penalty corners after the final siren, but they could not find an equalizer.

In spite of the goals, Germany coach Markus Weise was dissatisfied with his side’s first half.

“We had a very passive first half and played without the right tension, and you could see that in the turnovers we made. Our defending was slow and we were caught out of position,” Weise said.

Britain coach Jason Lee tried to draw some comfort from the defeat, while acknowledging the mistakes his side made.

“We made errors through the inexperience of the young players, but there is nothing to worry about in the long term,” he said. “But overall it was disappointing that we were not more competitive.”

New Zealand came back from a three-goal deficit after 16 minutes, but still lost 4-3 to Japan.

Japan played fast and wide to get in behind New Zealand’s defense early on, Tomonori Ono, Kenji Kitazato and Kei Kawakami all finding the target with field goals.

Richard Petherick gave some hope to New Zealand, converting a penalty corner, but Kazuhiro Tsubouchi’s field goal took Japan to 4-1 at the break.

A 30-minute thunderstorm delay at the break allowed New Zealand to re-group and the waterlogged pitch seemed to suit their slower game better in the second half.

The Kiwis dominated and pulled back goals through Andrew Hayward and Marcus Child, but there was not enough in the tank for them to claim a draw.

“Japan played well in the first half when they made the most of their six chances to score four goals, but I was really happy with the efforts of the guys as they played a very good second half,” New Zealand coach Shane McLeod said.

The Four-Nations continues today when Germany meet Japan and New Zealand play Britain.

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