US comes up short despite strong half
In the day’s last match, Germany beat the United States 2-1, holding off a strong second-half performance by the Americans.
Area athletes Katie O’Donnell and sisters Julia and Katie Reinprecht played in the day’s game. O’Donnell hails from Blue Bell while Julia and Katie Reinprecht reside in Perkasie and North Wales.
The Netherlands took its first step toward retaining the Olympic women’s field hockey gold, beating newcomer Belgium 3-0 Sunday. Argentina lived up to its reputation as one of the tournament favorites by dominating South Africa 7-1.
Kim Lammers scored twice in her Olympic debut for the Netherlands. Lammers is the most-capped Dutch player, but she was not selected for the Athens 2004 team and a knee injury forced her to miss the Beijing Olympics.
“It’s great to score goals in this big tournament,” Lammers said.
Captain Luciana Aymar scored twice in Argentina’s victory.
China, the 2008 silver medalist, beat South Korea 4-0, and New Zealand defeated three-time champion Australia 1-0 in the opening match of the tournament.
Britain, considered a strong outsider, scored four first-half goals against Japan then relaxed in a goal-less second half.
“I think I keep pinching myself and I look around and see London all over the boards. It’s an incredible turf I’m playing on with some of my best friends,” said Alex Danson, who scored twice for Britain. “It feels incredible to win the game, I don’t mind who scores as long as we score one more than the opposition.”
Hockey is being played on the Riverbank Arena’s newly built bright blue pitch, with a pink border. It is the first time an Olympic hockey tournament has been played on a pitch that is not green.
The garish color scheme is designed to contrast with the fast-moving yellow ball, making the game easier to play for competitors, and easier to follow for spectators. They also reflect the London Olympics’ colors.
Earlier Sunday, Cathryn Finlayson scored in the third minute to give New Zealand its victory over old rival Australia.
Australia’s last gold medal was at home during the 2000 Sydney Olympics. New Zealand, meanwhile, is improving after failing to win a match at the Beijing Games.
New Zealand had the ball in the Australian net in just the second minute, but the umpire had already blown for a short corner for an earlier offense. From the corner, Finlayson scored her 18th international goal.
Australia threw everything into attack in the second half but could not break down the stubborn Kiwi defense. It could have fallen further behind had it not been for a great low save by goalkeeper Toni Cronk on a Charlotte Harrison backhand shot.
“We created a lot of chances in the first half,” New Zealand captain Kayla Sharland said. “We scouted them a lot, we watched a lot of video footage of them.”
In Sunday’s third match, China’s leading scorers both came through. Yibo Ma opened the scoring with a penalty corner in the 26th minute, and Yudiao Zhao followed up with a goal 16 minutes into the second half.
The 23-year-old Zhao made her international debut in 2007, and in 2010 she was awarded Young Player of the Year by the International Hockey Federation.
“Beijing was my first Olympic Games and four years have now passed, and I know I have improved a lot during that time,” she said.