SA v Germany (Photo: Marcel Sigg)
While they might have lost 1-6 to Germany in their FIH Hockey League clash on Thursday, South Africa put in a much-improved performance.
The home side were very impressive in the first two quarters in particular as the teams were level at the half-time break.
Before the match and following some heavy losses over the past week, coach Gareth Ewing had high hopes for the match.
“We feel confident against a team like this. We know [Germany] will be looking to bounce back [from their narrow loss to France on Wednesday].
After a goalless first quarter, the visitors opened the scoring in the 17th minute through Tom Grambusch as his rocket drag-flick flew past Estiaan Kriek in the South African goal.
South Africa had a number of attacks of their own, but the German defence stood firm.
Their persistence, however, paid off as South African skipper Keenan Horne scored from a difficult angle following a baseline scramble just before half-time.
The teams entered the break locked at 1-1.
Germany regained the lead in the 34th minute, this time through Mats Grambusch, who scored following a penalty corner.
A Luis Gill deflected field gold in the 41st minute pushed Germany’s lead out to 3-1 as their attacking play throughout the third quarter was rewarded.
South Africa did ask for a video referral, but following the check, the goal stood.
Germany extended their lead to 4-1 with another field goal, this time through Thies Prinz right at the end of the third quarter.
In the final quarter, Germany added goals through Timm Herzbruch and Niklas Wellen, as South Africa’s defence faded as the game wore on.
South African player, Nicholas Spooner, believes there are positives to take out of the game.
“We started the first half pretty well, and structurally, we were very good,” said Spooner after the match.
“Unfortunately, in the second half, the Germans opened our structure a little bit and played some good contact hockey.
“They were able to go one or two goals ahead fairly quickly in the second half, and then we were always chasing the game, which can be tough.
“We can take the positives out of the game, especially the first half as we build towards our next game against France.”
That game takes place on Sunday at 20: 00
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