[img_assist|nid=8527|title=Consolation goal|desc=Barry Middleton – Frank Uijlenbroek|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=156]England’s suffered their second 6-1 defeat in a row at teh Hamburg Masters, this time to Germany on Saturday.
The defending Olympic champions outplayed England for most of the game. The only goal for England came from captain Barry Middleton in the 55th minute, but with four goals already to their name, a German victory was already assured.
England coach Bobby Crutchle said: “We were more competitive today, but the quality of our play was poor both on the ball and in defence. It was clear to see that Germany were the better team; our individual hockey just wasn’t good enough, and we lost the one-on-one battles across the pitch.”
Speaking about the squad overall and the difference in results since the World League earlier this month, Crutchley added, “The quality of opposition out here is significantly higher. Germany and the Netherlands are two of the best teams in the world. We still have a lot to learn and being such a new group there are bound to be inconsistencies.
“When our level drops at the moment it drops substantially and we have been punished for that out here playing against such strong opposition.”
George Pinner returned in England’s goal, replacing Patrick Smith, while Richard Smith was forced to watch from the sidelines after aggravating a knee injury he picked up earlier in the week at a training session.
The first half saw two goals against England in the ninth and 25th minute. Germany’s first came from Oskar Deecke who got his stick to the ball for the faintest of deflections after it was played in at speed from outside the circle. Then Mats Grambusch made it 2-0 as he scored from a penalty corner routine. The initial ball out was miss-trapped, but was quickly played back into danger and an ensuing scramble resulted in Grambusch getting his stick to the ball first to fire it home from close range.
England did have some good possession throughout the half and made some good inroads into Germany’s defence, but the final pass lacked consistency and often caused the play to breakdown. The visitors had to settle for a two goal deficit as the teams went in for the break.
Germany’s third goal came just after half-time in the 39th minute. Pinner saved an initial shot, but FIH world young player of the year Florian Fuchs was first to the rebound and flicked the ball over Pinner who had no chance of getting to the second attempt. Just three minutes later Germany made it 4-0 with a good pass across the front of goal from Martin Haner, which Marco Miltkau guided home for his first of two.
A torrential downpour hit the ground in Hamburg mid way through the second half and players were forced off the pitch as the match was suspended for 30 minutes. Following the enforced break England captain, Barry Middleton, grabbed a consolation goal, pouncing on a loose ball in the German circle and firing home from 10 yards to make it 4-1.
Any thoughts of a late England comeback were quashed moments later when Miltkau got his second of the day. In similar style to earlier goals Miltkau was fastest to react to a loose ball after Pinner had made an initial save.
The sixth and final goal came from Pilt Arnold. A great ball in from outside the circle split the English defence down the middle and Arnold deftly guided the ball over Pinner with an open stick deflection to make the final score 6-1.
England will be looking for their first victory at the tournament when they play Ireland on Sunday morning at 11:00 (UK time).
Catch England in action on home turf in the NOW: Pension Nation’s Cup as they continue their preparations for the European championships in August. Tickets are available now for the three-match test series against the Netherlands, visitenglandhockey.co.uk/nationscup for more information.
ENGLAND 1 (0), Barry Middleton 55 (FG); GERMANY 6 (2), Oskar Deecke 9 (FG), Mats Grambusch 25 (PC), Florian Fuchs 39 (FG), Marco Miltkau 42, 58 (FG, FG), Pilt Arnold 66 (FG)