July 19th, 2024

Canada men thumped by Germany in opening game at Olympic field hockey qualifier

By The Canadian Press on January 15, 2024.

Captain Gordon Johnston is shown in action with the Canadian men’s field hockey team in its 3-2 win over the U.S. in the bronze-medal game on Nov. 3, 2023, at the Pan American Games in Santiago, Chile. The Canadian men's field hockey team's bid for Olympic qualification got off to a tough start Monday with a 9-0 loss to Germany at an FIH Olympic Qualifier. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Field Hocley Canada-Yan Huckendubler **MANDATORY CREDIT**

STOCKHOLM – The Canadian men’s field hockey team’s bid for Olympic qualification got off to a tough start Monday with a 9-0 loss to Germany at an FIH Olympic Qualifier.

The fifth-ranked Germans are the class of Pool B, which is made up of the 17th-ranked Canadians, No. 10 New Zealand and No. 22 Chile.

Pool A features No. 12 Malaysia, No. 16 Pakistan, No. 23 China and unranked Britain.

Another men’s qualifier runs simultaneously in Valencia, Spain. The top three teams at each tournament book their ticket to Paris.

Despite the loss, there is still a road ahead for the Canadians, who face Chile on Tuesday and New Zealand on Thursday.

“We don’t have to win every single game. We have to win the right games,” Canada captain Gordon Johnston said prior to the game.

Germany took control in the opening quarter, scoring three times. The third quarter, which featured Canada’s lone penalty corner, produced another three goals.

Gonzalo Peillat, Christophe Ruhr and Hartkopf Raphael each scored two goals for Germany. Vancouver’s Matt Sarmento marked his 150th cap for Canada.

“When the Olympics are on the line, you always get the best out of your opponents,” Sarmento said. “We didn’t have our best today, so we have to reset and get ready for Chile (on Tuesday).”

The German men have won Olympic field hockey gold four times (1972, 1992, 2008 and 2012), adding three silver and four bronze medals.

The Canadian men have competed in eight Olympics including three of the last four, finishing 10th in 2008, 11th in 2016 and 12th in 2021. They downed Ireland in a dramatic shootout in 2019, capping a two-game series to qualify for Tokyo.

The 16th-ranked Canadian women are currently 1-1-0 at their Olympic qualifier in Valencia, Spain.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 15, 2024

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