The Australia men's field hockey team has put on an offensive show to start the Olympics.
The No. 1 team in the world rankings rolled past No. 4 India 7-1 on Sunday. The outburst came a day after the Kookaburras rallied from a 3-1 deficit to defeat Japan 5-3.
“To come out and put a performance in like that after yesterday is really pleasing for us,” said Australian midfielder Flynn Ogilvie, who scored a goal.
“We haven’t had a lot of international competition in the last 18 months like a lot of teams. So to come out against a quality team like India and put on that performance really gives us some confidence for the rest of the tournament.”
Australian forward Blake Govers scored twice against India.
“When you score seven goals you’ve got to be pretty happy with it,” said Australia’s Daniel Beale, a midfielder who also scored a goal.
“I think we’re just more happy with putting four quarters together. Yesterday we had a second-quarter lapse, so today to get ahead and then I think we made a pretty good save on the line at 1-0 up, and then from that momentum we can put seven on which you’re never going to be unhappy with.”
India’s Manpreet Singh, the FIH Player of the Year in 2019, said his team's mistakes are correctable. He said Sunday's score difference doesn’t mean much, and the squad still has high hopes heading into Tuesday’s match against Spain.
“We are disappointed today with the result because we gave them easy opportunities,” he said. “They produced goals and we should work on our skills, be much tighter marking and also whenever we get opportunities in the opponent’s circle, we should score the goal because today we missed a couple of good opportunities.”
The Netherlands was trying to bounce back from a loss to Belgium on Saturday, but the Dutch nearly found themselves winless for the weekend.
South Africa, which had never placed higher than 10th at an Olympics and was ranked just 14th in the world, took a 3-0 lead in the second period. The Dutch bounced back, scoring five goals in a 25-minute span to win 5-3.
In other men's action Sunday, New Zealand defeated Spain 4-3 and Argentina beat Japan 2-1.
In women's play, No. 3 Germany defeated defending champion Britain 2-1.
German captain Nike Lorenz wore a rainbow on her left sock during the game as a symbol of support for the LGBTQ community. The German Olympic Committee got approval from the International Olympic Committee and called the choice by Lorenz “a symbol for sexual diversity.” The IOC has recently relaxed how it implements a rule which historically stopped athletes making political, religious or other statements of belief or identity.
Germany's Viktoria Huse scored in the second quarter to tie the match at 1 and Charlotte Stapenhorst added the winner in the third period.
Britain scored just one goal on 17 shots, while Germany scored twice on just six shots.
“We’re going to go back tonight, look at the stats and I think that’ll show that it was a really dominant performance," said Britain's Hollie Pearne-Webb, a defender and team captain.
“Which in one way is really disappointing because on the balance of play, I think the three points should have been ours.”
No. 6 New Zealand topped No. 2 Argentina 3-0 in the opener for both squads. It was scoreless at halftime before Kelsey Smith and Hope Ralph broke through with goals in the third period. Holly Pearson closed the scoring with a goal in the fourth.
In other women’s scores Sunday, China defeated Japan 4-3 and Australia topped Spain 3-1.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter: twitter.com/CliffBruntAP.
Cliff Brunt, The Associated Press