Italy beat hosts Germany 4-1 in their opening match of the World Para Ice Hockey Qualification Tournament in Berlin ©Getty Images

Italy defeated hosts Germany 4-1 as the World Para Ice Hockey Qualification Tournament got underway at Berlin's Eissporthalle am Glockenturm.

The tournament, which will run until December 1, features six countries who are chasing the two remaining qualification places for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

It was a heartening start for Italy, who are hoping to play at a fifth consecutive Paralympics before they enter as hosts at Milan-Cortina 2026.

After falling a goal behind in the first period they drew level and added further goals in the second period and two in the fourth, after the last of which the German keeper needed attention for a couple of minutes before recovering to take part in the final couple of minutes of action.

The first day of a round-robin that will see all sides playing each other began with a 2-0 win for Norway over Japan.

The latter team now have further to go in their bid to earn a record representation of three teams for Asia at the Paralympics by joining hosts China and South Korea, who have already secured their places in Beijing.

Slovakia, who have yet to compete in the Paralympics, got their effort to qualify off to an inspiring start as they earned a 4-0 win over Sweden, who finished seventh at Pyeongchang 2018.

Japan has not played at the Paralympics since Vancouver 2010, while Germany has not reached the Games since Turin in 2006.

Both Norway and Sweden have competed in ice hockey at every Winter Paralympics since the sport was introduced in Lillehammer in 1994.

Sweden were the first gold medallists, with Norway then taking gold four years later in Nagano.

Norway has also won three silver medals and one bronze, meaning it is level with the United States and Canada for the most medals won by any country.

The Swedes have also won two bronze medals.  

Tomorrow will see Slovakia play Japan, Italy meet Sweden and Norway take on Germany.