England impresses in upset victory over Australia
BHUBANESWAR, India (AP) — England was the most impressive team on the opening day of the Champions Trophy as it beat five-time defending champion Australia 3-1 on Saturday.
Germany and the Netherlands also notched wins as the eight-team tournament opened to a packed house at Kalinga Stadium.
England rookie Samuel Ward struck twice after Alastair Brogdon put the team ahead. Penalty-corner specialist Chris Ciriello found the mark for Australia, which was trying out new combinations following injuries and retirements since the World Cup victory in June.
England coach Bobby Crutchley wasn’t getting carried away by the result.
“We beat them early on in the World Cup in the Netherlands, but they went on to win the tournament,” he said. “So, they’re capable of coming back strongly here.
“We played well but in patches. There is scope for a lot of improvement for us while they tried out quite a few new things since they’re not here with some first-choice players.”
Fifth-ranked England went ahead in the sixth minute when Brogdon shot in from the top of the circle with a crisp reverse-flick.
The second goal came in the 27th through Ward, following an attempt by David Condon off a long pass from Nick Catlin.
Australia got one back through Ciriello in the 54th, but Ward struck again two minutes later to douse Australia’s hopes.
Germany managed a last-minute goal through Florian Fuchs to defeat India 1-0.
India goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh foiled at least four good chances for the Germans, who also saw a penalty stroke given to them in the first quarter being overturned after a referral.
The Netherlands started with a convincing 3-0 victory over Argentina, with goals by penalty-corner specialist Mink van der Weerden, Robbert Kempermann and Diede van Puffeler.
Belgium, making its second tournament appearance with the event’s most experienced side, beat Pakistan 2-1, with a strong start thanks to goals through Tanguy Cosyns and Thomas Briels. Captain Muhammad Imran converted a penalty stroke for Pakistan.
“It was an even game, and I thought my boys played well,” Pakistan coach Shahnaz Sheikh said. “Considering that we’ve not played many European teams in recent months and the fact that we’ve been trying out new things, it’s not a bad result for us.”