[img_assist|nid=2771|title=Record beckons|desc=Dutch corner ace Maartje Paumen (left)) is just two goals behind Alyson Annan’s all-time Olympic goal-scoring record. Netherlands play Belgium at 10.45 Sunday July 29 – pic by Andy Smith |link=node|align=right|width=220|height=155]Records under threat on the opening day of the women’s hockey tournament of the Olympic Games of the XXXth Olympiad include Alyson Annan’s all-time Olympic scoring record of 13 goals. 

The tournament starts on Sunday at 8.30am with a trans-Tasman clash between Australia and New Zealand.

The Netherlands, with Maartje Paumen only two goals behind Annan’s record, play Belgium at 10.45am. Hosts Great Britain start their campaign with a match against Japan at 7pm.

Natascha Keller should become the first woman to play hockey in five Olympic Games when she takes the field for Germany against the USA at 9.10pm.

Here is the full schedule and some quick facts on each of Sunday’s matches:

New Zealand v Australia 8.30am

  • Both teams qualified for London 2012 through the 2011 Oceania Cup series in Hobart, Australia.
  • New Zealand beat Australia in a three-match series for the first time, losing 2-1, drawing 3-3, then winning 4-2 in the third match.
  • A penalty corner from Clarissa Eshuis (NZL) and a Katie Glynn (NZL) deflection sealed the victory in the final match.
  • New Zealand failed to win a match at Beijing 2008 and finished in last position (12th).
  • New Zealand have never beaten Australia at the Olympic Games, losing all four matches between them.
  • Australia are the most successful women’s team in Olympic hockey with three gold medals – 1988, 1996 and 2000, and are making a record eighth appearance.
  • Australia have not won a medal since their last title in 2000, finishing fifth at both Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.

Netherlands v Belgium 10.45am

  • Netherlands are making a record eighth Olympic appearance at London 2012.
  • They have only failed to win a medal once (Barcelona 1992) in seven Olympic Games since their debut in 1984.
  • Netherlands qualified as champions of the 2011 Euro hockey nations championship.
  • Maartje Paumen (NED) needs two goals to equal Alyson Annan’s (AUS) overall record of 13 Olympic goals.
  • Belgium are the only team making their Olympic debut at London 2012 and are the lowest ranked (16th) team in the competition.
  • They qualified as winners of the second Olympic qualification tournament, beating Ireland 4-1 in Kontich, Belgium in March 2012.
  • Belgium have never beaten Netherlands in major international competition.They have lost nine out of nine matches, including a 15-0 defeat in their last meeting, the pool stage of the 1999 Euro Hockey Nations Championship.
  • Belgium have the women’s tournament’s youngest squad with an average age of 23 years 237 days.They have the tournament’s two youngest players: Aisling d’Hooghe (17 years 339 days) and Judith Vandermeiren (17-354).

China v Korea 1.45pm

  • Both teams qualified from the 2010 Asian Games, when China beat Korea on penalty strokes in the final after a 0-0 draw.
  • Teams played off for the last (eighth) position at the 2012 Champions Trophy in Rosario, Argentina.
  • Korea won 3-2 in a shoot-out competition after coming back from 3-0 down to draw 3-3.
  • Korea beat China 2-1 at the four-team test event at the Riverbank Arena in May 2012.
  • Korea also beat China 2-1 in the opening match of the 2010 world cup.
  • China beat Korea 6-1 in their penultimate pool match at Beijing 2008.
  • China scored more field goals (16) than any other team at Beijing 2008.
  • Korea scored more penalty strokes (3) than any other team at Beijing 2008.

Argentina v South Africa 4pm

  • These teams have never met at an Olympic Games.
  • Argentina won the last major tournament before London 2012, beating Great Britain 1-0 to win their fifth champions trophy title.
  • Argentina have won medals at the previous three Olympic Games, silver at Sydney 2000 and bronze at Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.
  • As part of those teams, Luciana Aymar (ARG) can now become the first woman to win four Olympic hockey medals.
  • After losing the final of the 2011 Pan American Games 4-2 against USA, Argentina were invited to participate at London 2012 instead of South Africa.
  • The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) insisted its team contest a qualifying tournament instead of taking their place at the Games as Africa Cup champions.Consequently South Africa qualified as winners of the first Olympic qualification tournament, beating India 3-1 in New Delhi, India in February 2012.
  • South Africa’s best result against Argentina is a 2-2 draw, achieved twice: in the pool stage at the 2006 world cup and at the 2000 Champions Trophy.

Great Britain v Japan 7pm

  • Great Britain won the four-team test event at the Riverbank Arena in May 2012, beating Argentina 2-0 in the final.
  • Great Britain beat Japan 3-0 at the 2012 Champions Trophy in Rosario, Argentina.They also beat Japan 2-1 in their penultimate pool match at Beijing 2008.
  • Great Britain (England) have only conceded one penalty corner goal in 12 matches at the last two Champions Trophy tournaments.
  • Great Britain have the women’s tournament’s oldest squad with an average age of 27 years 268 days.
  • Japan were the last team to qualify for London 2012, beating Azerbaijan 5-1 to win the third Olympic qualification tournament in Kakamigahara, Japan in May 2012.
  • Japan are the lowest ranked (9th) of pool A’s three Asia teams. China (5th) and Korea (8th) are the others.
  • They won the 2011 Champions Challenge 1 tournament in Dublin, Ireland, recovering from a 2-0 a deficit against USA to win 3-2.
  • If she plays, Akemi Kato (JPN) will improve her own record as the oldest player to compete in women’s Olympic hockey at 41 years 210 days.

Germany v USA 9.10pm

  • Germany have not won a medal at a major world tournament since taking silver at the 2008 Champions Trophy in Monchengladbach, Germany.
  • Germany beat USA 4-2 in their third pool match at Beijing 2008.
  • The teams drew 1-1 in the pool stage of Atlanta 1996, neither team claimed a medal.
  • Natascha Keller (GER) will become the first woman to play hockey at five Olympic Games if she plays.
  • Germany finished in last (eighth) position at the 2011 champions trophy in Amstelveen, Netherlands.
  • USA qualified with their first Pan American Games gold medal, beating then world No.1 Argentina 4-2 in the final in Guadalajara, Mexico in October 2011.
  • In 1994 USA beat Germany 2-1 to win their only world cup medal (bronze) in Dublin, Ireland.
  • USA player Claire Laubach (USA) celebrates her 29th birthday on Sunday July 29.