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September 19, 2000
Poland too good for Spain
Atlanta Games silver medallists Spain suffered a major setback towards making it to the semi-finals when they were shocked by lowly Poland 4-1 in a group B match in the men's hockey tournament on Tuesday.
Poland, who were thrashed by Australia in their opening match on Sunday, looked a different side as they rattled up a 3-0 score by half-time. With Piotr Mikula, Robert Grzeszczak and Rafal Grotowski on song, they were lethal inside the circle, converting four of their eight shots on goal.
Two goals within 90 seconds of the 14th minute completely disloged Spain. The first came from captain Grzeszczak, after a blunder by opposing skipper Kim Malgosa just outside the circle.
Striker Mikula increased the tally before the Spanish could even know what hit them, with a superb goal that saw the ball find the corner of the net.
Grotowski Rafal made it 3-0 in the 27th minute from another field goal before Piotr could score the second of his two goals two minutes after the break.
Spain pulled one back through Arnau Xavi in the 52nd minute.
Remarkably, Poland went through the entire game without a penalty-corner, while Spain had 11 but were unable to capitalise.
"This was a revolutionary match for us. We were very strong in defence and superb in counter-attack," said Polish defender Zbigniew Juszczak.
"'The last time we played this well was when we beat Great Britain 5-2 in qualifying in Osaka."
Later today, India meets Australia in a crucial Group B match.
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