GB thrashed by Germans
Crista Cullen nets only GB goal in big defeat
Last Updated: 10/08/08 4:10pm
Good goal: Crista Cullen, left, is congratulated by team-mates after netting's GB's only goal.
Great Britain's women made a poor start to their Olympic hockey campaign, going down 5-1 to defending champions Germany in Pool B.
Defensive mistakes cost the British dearly and they were also not as sharp in front of goal as their opponents, whom they have now not beaten in a major tournament since the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
Goalkeeper Beth Storry conceded the lead from Germany's first penalty corner in the 26th minute when she flapped at Fanny Rinne's head-high drag-flick which went straight down the middle of the goal and into the net.
But GB responded with a short corner of their own two minutes later and Leicester defender Crista Cullen's low effort beat German goalkeeper Kristina Reynolds low to her left.
But slack defending three minutes later allowed Mandy Haase to take a quick free-hit on the left which travelled across the circle to an unmarked Eileen Hoffman at the far post who converted a simple deflection to restore Germany's lead.
GB were much more positive in the second half and in the 47th minute Leicester midfielder Jennie Bimson was only inches wide with a diving deflection.
But just a minute later the unmarked Hoffman scored a second tap-in, this time from a penalty corner, to end the revival.
Rinne then fired home her second before Marion Rodewald drilled home a reverse-stick effort.
The result means the British could not take advantage of the world number twos Argentina being held to a surprise 2-2 draw by the USA in Pool B.
Argentina squandered a two goal lead against America after Carla Rebecchi had netted a brace in the opening 12 minutes.
But Keli Smith got one back after a penalty corner in the 18th minute and then Angie Loy levelled in the 64th minute.
In the other Pool B match, Japan held on in a scoreless second half to beat New Zealand 2-1.
In Pool A, three times Olympic champions Australia needed four unanswered second-half goals to beat South Korea 5-4 in Pool A.
Casey Eastham scored the winner in the 65th minute, with Australian captain Nicole Hudson saying the comeback win showed the character of the team.
"That felt like a final," she said. "This will be a very positive influence on our team.
"We said at half time 'if they can score four goals in the first half, we can do the same in the second' - and we played so well."
Also in Pool A, hosts China beat Spain 3-0.