Defending champions Australia, Olympic champions Germany and the Netherlands successfully launched their Champion Trophy campaigns with opening day victories here on Saturday.
Australia blasted South Korea 4-0, Germany edged out England 3-2 and the Dutch saw off Spain 3-2 to stake early claims for the December 6 final of the top-six ranked teams’ tournament.
First-half goals by Australia’s Des Abbott and Robbie Hammond set up the hosts to run over the Koreans. Jamie Dwyer and Abbott combined early in the second half to give Australia a commanding 3-0 lead before Eddie Ockenden added their final goal, six minutes from time.
The Dutch, eight-time winners of the Trophy, held off a fast-finishing Spain in the day’s final match.
The Netherlands brought some young and inexperienced players in a squad with an average age of 25. Prolific scorer Ronald Brouwer and defender Geert-Jan Derikx are on holiday and will return to the Dutch team for the World Cup in New Delhi in February.
Nevertheless, the Dutch combination of Taeke Taekema and captain Teun de Nooijer proved too much for the Spaniards. Taekema converted a penalty corner in both halves and de Nooijer finished off a cross pass from Rogier Hofman after a 50-metre overhead pass from Taekema to Hofman.
Taekema’s double broke Pakistan’s Sohail Abbas’ record of 40 Champions Trophy goals.
Spain threw caution to the wind after Taekema’s 50th-minute goal but could not score the equaliser.