Three teams took the initiative on an opening day of big wins at the men’s EuroHockey Championships III in Athienou, Cyprus as Italy, Ireland and Denmark lead the way.
All three won both their games today, all ending up with goal differences in excess of +20, as Serbia, Cyprus and Greece found the going tough.
Nonetheless, the hosts laid on a great show with a special opening ceremony welcoming the players and dignitaries with a strong crowd enjoying the spectacle with many schoolkids making the noise.
Denmark were first off the mark with an 8-0 win against Serbia with two goals from captain Jesper Jonasson and Lasse Christensen.
Ireland then recorded a 15-1 success against Cyprus – Ross Canning top scored with four, John Jackson got a hat trick and there were two each for debutants Jody Hosking and James Walker.
Italy entered the competition with a similar 15-1 win against Greece, Simone Pagliara netting four for them while Belgian-based Francois Sior scored a hat trick.
The second fixtures of the day followed a similar pattern. Ireland won 12-2 against Serbia. The latter battled well with goals from Vanja Dukić and Mate Losonci to be in the tie at 5-2 with 11 minutes to go before Ireland raced away. There were hat tricks for Walker, Jackson and Canning.
Denmark recorded the biggest scoreline when they won 16-0 against Greece with Jonasson also getting the highest individual tally – eight goals, seven from play – to lead the way.
Italy, though, have the edge on goal difference after day one. They saw off Cyprus 13-0 with four goals each for Pagliara and Sior.
Saturday will see each 100% record put to the test with Denmark facing both Ireland and Italy while Greece, Cyprus and Serbia will be going for their first win of the compeition.