Germany beats US 4-2 in women's field hockey

Aug. 14, 2008, 10:47 a.m. (ET)

BEIJING (AP) The U.S. women's field hockey team changed its approach Thursday, but it didn't matter.

Instead of being sluggish for large periods of time and falling behind early only to come back, the Americans were intense from the start against Germany and took the lead. Undaunted, the Germans rallied for three second-half goals to beat the United States 4-2 in Olympic pool play.

The 2004 gold medalists improved to 3-0 in Pool B and greatly improved their chances of making the medal round again.

The United States dropped to 0-1-2. Though the Americans have been competitive with draws against top-five teams Argentina and Japan, now they will be hard-pressed to earn one of the top two slots in the six-team pool that qualify for the medal round. They have two games remaining in pool play, Saturday against New Zealand and Monday against Britain.

"It's been a tough three games for us, but the tournament is still in progress," U.S. coach Lee Bodimeade said.

The third-ranked Germans had several quality chances early, but each time, U.S. goalie Amy Tran denied them.

The United States took a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute when Tiffany Snow scored off a deflection. Germany answered in the 34th minute when Natascha Keller drove, then put a reverse stick shot past Tran to tie the score right before halftime.

Germany's Fanny Rinne scored in the 49th minute on a penalty corner. Her shot got under a diving Tran, who touched the ball but could not stop it.

Natascha Rodewold gave the Germans a 3-1 lead before Angie Loy intercepted a German clearing attempt near the goal and flicked the ball in to trim Germany's lead to 3-2 in the 60th minute.

Germany's Anke Kuehn scored just four minutes later to end the U.S. threat.

Bodimeade said the Americans never lost their intensity, they simply were overpowered.

"To go one up, we wanted to continue to push," he said. "We felt like we were able to do that, but Germany is a very good team."

Germany opened with a 5-1 win over Britain, but struggled at times in a 2-1 win over New Zealand and the win over the United States. German captain Tina Bachmann said the team will need better performances Saturday against Argentina and Monday against Japan.

"We are not playing the way we'd like to play. The first match was a good standard, then we couldn't keep the standard. We were fighting hard for the wins. We have to improve to against a strong Japanese team, a strong Argentinian team."

In earlier action, the Netherlands hung on for a 1-0 win over host China in a matchup of undefeated teams.

The Netherlands, ranked No. 1 in the world, improved to 3-0 in Pool A. China fell to 2-1.

Maartje Paumen scored on a high shot near the edge of the circle in the 21st minute, and the Netherlands took that lead into halftime.

Despite a boisterous and hopeful crowd, No. 6 China struggled to create scoring opportunities in the second half.

Argentina got its first win of the tournament by defeating Japan 2-0. Argentina is 1-0-2, while Japan is 1-1-1.

Spain also won for the first time with a 2-1 win over South Korea.

Australia defeated South Africa 3-0 to remain unbeaten, and Britain defeated New Zealand 2-1 for its first win.