The wait is finally over, the Tokyo Olympic Games are here! Great Britain’s men and women will both make their Tokyo bow over the weekend, read below to find out all you need to know ahead of the opening matches:
When are the teams playing?
First up, Great Britain’s men will face South Africa on Saturday 24 July at 10:30 BST before Mark Hager’s side face Germany the following day at 01:30 BST.
Both matches will be broadcast live on Eurosport, view the full schedule by clicking here.
Preview, Great Britain’s men v South Africa:
South Africa will be the opposition for Team GB’s men’s side in their opening hockey match of the Tokyo Olympics.
The most recent Olympic encounter between the two happened on home soil at the London 2012 Games, nothing could separate the sides on the day as three goals in the final ten minutes meant the game would finish 2-2 – Ashley Jackson scoring both goals for GB.
Great Britain’s men and South Africa have only ever met on four occasions at the Olympics, the record makes for good reading for GB who are unbeaten in those matches having taken two victories and two draws.
South Africa’s first experience of the Olympics came in Atlanta 1996, coinciding with their first ever match against Great Britain – a tie GB would emerge 2-0 victors in.
Keep an eye on defender Austin Smith, who is the most capped player in the current team and fired in ten goals in five matches during the 2019 African Olympic Qualifiers which sealed their spot at the Tokyo Games and earned him the top goal scorer gong.
Preview, Great Britain’s women v Germany:
Great Britain’s women begin their campaign against a German side that they met just two months ago in the FIH Hockey Pro League.
Though Mark Hager’s side are currently the reigning Olympic champions, they’ll face a stern test against a Germany team that is currently ranked third in the world and took silver in the recent EuroHockey Championships.
Despite both teams being prominent competitors in recent Olympics, Team GB’s women and Germany haven’t met at the Games since back at Beijing 2008, on this occasion the German outfit triumphing 5-1.
Germany made their Olympic debut back in 1984 and have been to every iteration of the Games since. In those nine Olympic appearances, the team have bagged a very respectable tally of four medals, their lone gold coming back at Athens 2004 before clinching bronze at Rio 2016.
In the four Olympic meetings that have ever taken place between these two sides, Die Danas have the edge with three victories and only one loss.
Though eyebrows were initially raised when Germany failed to select legendary defender Janne Muller-Wieland, who had been to the previous three Olympics, this is a young and exciting side that has proven to be worth looking out for.
Did you know that when GB met Germany at Beijing 2008, the match was played in dreadful conditions, high winds and relentless rain, more curiously, Sarah Thomas' parents were given a lift to the stadium in a police van!
All stats, figures, and anecdotal references have been collated by the dedicated volunteers at The Hockey Museum, a huge thanks to them for their research.