Team GB women’s hockey team have been undone by Germany in a 2-1 defeat in the Tokyo heat as they began their Olympic title defence on Sunday.
Great Britain started the brightest of the two teams, earning two penalty corners in the opening four minutes. Elana Rayer squandered a good chance in a busy first half for German goalkeeper Julia Sonntag.
After a lengthy refereeing decision concluded in a fourth Team GB penalty corner of the first quarter, the Britons deservedly took the lead in the 13th minute. After an initial effort was saved, Sarah Jones was alert to tidy up the rebound and make it one-nil.
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TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 25: Shona McCallin #24 of Team Great Britain celebrates a goal while Charlotte Stapenhorst #12 of Team Germany looks on during the Women's Pool A match on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Oi Hockey Stadium on July 25, 2021 in

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Despite a string of critical saves from Sonntag at one end, Germany failed to make any impact down the other under the tough Tokyo conditions.
Germany came out of their shell in the second quarter with a faster start, ensuirng Team GB goalkeeper Madeleine Hinch was kept on her toes. After another lengthy video referral decision, they were awarded a penalty stroke in the 24th minute, calmly dispatched by Viktoria Huse to draw the game level.

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 25: Charlotte Stapenhorst #12 of Team Germany celebrates scoring a goal with teammates during the Women's Pool A match against Team Great Britain on day two of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Oi Hockey Stadium on July 25, 2021 in Tokyo

Image credit: Eurosport

In a completely contrasting third quarter, Germany took the lead in the 33rd minute through Charlotte Stapenhorst after impressive end-to-end play. Sonntag once again in the thick of the action before Germany broke forward in a counter-attacking move. Pla Maertens made a run down the flank before playing it well across Hinch’s area for Stapenhorst to convert and turn the game on its head.
Team GB's Leah Wilkinson was subject to a green card on the 38 minute mark as Germany really started to find their groove, but failed to extend their lead after a third video referral of the game granted them their first penalty corner of the game.
Sonntag was forced into another top stop after Team GB won three successive penalty corners, the German side defending their lead well.
Despite being forced down to ten players after Huse was given a yellow card, Germany continued to push for a third as the clock ticked down and the game entered its final stages.
Team GB won a penalty corner with two minutes to play but failed to equalise as Germany held on to kickstart their Tokyo 2020 campaign with a win over current champions.
Team GB won gold at Rio 2016 whilst Germany ran-out as bronze medallists. Sandwiched in between was the Netherlands, who began their Tokyo 2020 campaign with a 5-1 win over India in yesterday’s Pool A clash.
Ireland also got off to a winning start as they came out on top against South Africa.
Captain Hollie Pearne-Webb said post-match: "We'll go back, look at the stats and see that was a really dominant performance. In one way it's really disappointing because on balance of play, the points should have been ours. However, we didn't make sure it was three points.
“The difference was just in both circles. We'll look at the stats and they didn't have many opportunities, maybe one corner, one stroke, not many shots.
“We had loads of corners and that's the difference, at both ends. We need to go back and tighten up those areas. Overall, it was really positive."
Team GB return to action on Monday where they face South Africa at 6.30pm.
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