Captain Jamie Dwyer scored three goals as world champions Australia launched their Olympic men’s hockey campaign with a thumping 6-0 victory over South Africa on Monday.
Dwyer’s three strikes helped him equal the Australian record of 179 international goals held by Mark Hager, who is now the New Zealand coach.
Dwyer was instrumental in earning both penalty strokes, that he went on to convert, and later also scored on a penalty corner as Australia outplayed South Africa in Pool A.
Defending champions Germany rallied after conceding an early goal to overcome Belgium 2-1 in a close contest in Pool B, which also saw the Netherlands clinch a 3-2 triumph against India and Asian champions South Korea held off a late New Zealand charge to prevail 2-0.
A capacity crowd, including the largest ever assembly of former British internationals, saw hosts Great Britain begin with a 4-1 win over Argentina, while Pakistan held 2008 Olympic silver medalists Spain 1-1 in Pool A matches.
Dwyer opened the Australian scoring in the 16th minute with a penalty stroke after he was brought down by a defender inside the circle.
Dwyer then set up the second Australian goal two minutes before halftime with a pass that Matthew Butturini deflected in.
Christopher Ciriello converted a penalty corner in the 46th minute before Dwyer got back into goal-scoring action, firing in during a penalty corner in the 48th and then forcing another penalty stroke that he converted in the 58th.
Glenn Turner rounded off the Australian scoring with a field goal in the 62nd.
“I had two strokes in there so you are meant to score those goals. I’m glad I executed the two strokes properly and the penalty corner rebound, so overall very happy to get my name on the scoresheet,” Dwyer said.
Great Britain captain Barry Middleton scored the initial two goals and was followed by Dan Fox and Richard Smith, while Argentina had a small consolation with a penalty corner goal by Pedro Ibarra.
This was Great Britain’s fourth victory in four Olympic Games encounters against the Pan American champions.
Pakistan led Spain with a fine 47th-minute shot by Rehan Butt, but Pau Quaemada took just 40 seconds to level the scores.
Spain had more control over the game, but it was their goalkeeper, Francisco Cortes, who made crucial first-half saves.
Belgium stunned the German defense to take the lead in the fourth minute on a penalty-corner conversion by Jerome Dekeyser.
Germany, winners of the Olympic gold medal in 2008 and the World Cup silver in 2010, struck back through field goals by Moritz Fuerste in the 13th minute and Christopher Zellor in the 45th to seize control.
Robert van der Horst and Rod Weusthof put Netherlands 2-0 ahead against India, but two strikes in the space of three minutes saw Dharamvir scoring on a rebound from the goalpost and Shivendra Singh flicking in to make it 2-2.
Mink van der Weerden flicked in a penalty-corner snorter for the decisive goal.
The Dutch, despite the absence of Taeke Taekama, converted two out of two penalty corners.
You Hyo-sik scored two goals for South Korea against New Zealand.
“I’m excited about scoring twice as I’ve been waiting for a goal on the international stage for a long time,” said You, who deflected diagonal crosses past New Zealand goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.
New Zealander Simon Child wasted an early scoring opportunity by shooting wide, before You put South Korea ahead in the 19th minute by capitalizing on a diagonal ball from Kang Moon-kyu.