Saturday, 11 August 2012

Germany Conquors The Dutch

In what some would call an upset, Germany has captured the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympic men's field hockey event over the Netherlands! Despite Germany being ranked ahead of the Netherlands in the world rankings, the Dutch men seemed to cruise through the preliminaries before walloping Great Britain 9-2 in the semi-final. Needless to say, the Dutch men looked like they may put the hurt on Germany, but it was the Germans who played a very controlled, very patient game as they waited for their chance. And they capitalized once they were given the opportunity!

Germany came into the game after defeating the top-ranked team on the planet in Australia by a 4-2 score. The team standing before them was no pushover as the Netherlands were 6-0-0 up to that point. The game was a tight-checking affair until just before halftime when 25 year-old Jan Philipp Rabente struck a beautiful goal at the 32:55 mark to put Germany up 1-0. Mink van der Weerden drew the Dutch squad even, though, as he put away a penalty corner at 53:40 to tie the game at 1-1. It looked like we might be headed towards extra time, but Jan Philipp Rabente struck his second excellent ball that found its way past goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann at the 65:08 mark. With less than five minutes to play, the Dutch men sent wave after wave of attackers into the German end, but the Germans held strong. The picture above is what was seen at the final whistle as Germany knocked off the Netherlands to capture the gold medal! Congratulations, Germany!

The Netherlands earned the silver medal based on their performance throughout the tournament, and there were some standout players on this squad. Mink van der Weerden led the tournament in goals as he converted seven penalty corners and one penalty stroke. He was also tops for the tournament in penalty corner goals. Both Billy Bakker and Roderick Weusthof had six goals apiece in the tournament, and Weusthof tied for the tournament lead with two goals off penalty strokes. Needless to say, no one likes to end a tournament with a loss, but a silver medal in this type of tournament is an extraordinary performance. Congratulations, Netherlands!

The bronze medal game featured Australia and Great Britain squaring off. Australia got off to a fast start as they scored the game's opening goal just 16:45 in. Simon Orchard notched the goal to put Australia up 1-0. Great Britain tied the game up at the 28:39 mark off a penalty corner when Iain Lewers converted for the Britons. The game went into halftime tied at 1-1. Nearly 13 minutes after the break, the Australians caught a break when scoring star Jamie Dwyer added another goal to his total off a penalty corner at 47:56 to put Australia up 2-1. With Britain pressing, the Australians found another seam when Kieran Govers struck a precise ball that found its way past goalkeeper James Fair at 56:59, and time was against the British squad. The Australians held firm the rest of the way, and the final whistle saw the Hockeyroos emerge victorious with a 3-1 win, and, more importantly, the bronze medal! Congratulations, Australia!

As stated above, Mink van der Weerden was the tournament leader in both goals and goals off penalty corners. Florian Fuchs was the top scorer for the Germans with six goals. There were seven penalty strokes scored in the tournament, but Roderick Weusthof and Jamie Dwyer scored a pair of penalty stroke goals each. Former powerhouse India was the only team not to record a point in the tournament, and they finished twelfth out of twelve teams after a loss to South Africa in the placement games. India's program really has fallen off the tracks since its glory days.

There are the results of the men's field hockey event at the 2012 London Olympic Games! I hope you were able to catch some of the games on television because field hockey is an excellent game to watch. And if you ever get a chance to play it, give it a shot! Maybe we'll see you in Rio de Janeiro!

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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