|February 24th, 2012|
|14||Pool A||4:00pm||FRA - CAN||1 - 1 (0 - 1)||Final|
A sad news reached the French team during their rest day in Delhi: Christophe GENESTET, the father of Martin, Tom and Hugo (playing in this competition) passed away back home. As well as supporting and encouraging his sons, Christophe was a great servant of French hockey, and in particular St. Germain-en-Laye Hockey Club. In memory of Christophe, the players, officials, volunteers and spectators in the stadium showed their appreciation of his life by a period of applause.
Important match for the two teams: with two games left in the round-robin, only India had qualified for the Final for sure and Canada, France and Poland could still hope to join them depending on the results of their matches. Canada had a strong goal difference, but absolutely needed a win against France to stay in contention. They immediately set to the task and their top striker Mark PEARSON (6 goals so far in the competition) had a golden opportunity when he received the ball alone in front of Matthias DIERCKENS in the French goal, but his powerful shot went wide.
The match was intense, neither team giving an inch in defense and pushing forward as soon as they could. Sukhwinder “Gabbar” SINGH had a chance for Canada, Martin GENESTET had one for France at the other end, then it was Iain SMYTHE’s turn to be in good position for Canada, then Tom GENESTET for France, but there was still no scoring after half-an-hour of play. Canada applied more pressure in the final minutes of the period but Matthias DIERCKENS stood tall in the French goal to deflect a shot from close range by Sukhwinder SINGH.
Canada finally scored in the final minute of the period after a swift combination with Jesse WATSON, Ken PEREIRA and SHORT, that ended on the stick of Iain SMYTHE, on his knee in front of the goal. He nevertheless managed to control the ball and slot it in goal for a narrow 1-0 lead going into the half-time break.
France now needed to take some risks to come back into the game and they besieged the Canadian circle. They earned a penalty-corner for a reckless tackle and thought that they had scored by Frederic VERRIER, but the initial shot was too high. Tempers were flying high on the French side and they kept pushing, throwing everything they could at Canada, but the experienced Canadian held tight, well regrouped around Scott TUPPER and Rob SHORT.
France did not help their cause by collecting a few green cards, but Fabien MAGNER finally get the equalizer, surprising the Canadian defense to beat David CARTER from close range. It was the turn of Canada to take risks and lose their tempter, Sukhwinder “Gabbar” SINGH collecting an ill-timed yellow card.
Canada threw caution to the wind in the final minutes, pushing forward and leaving their goal-keeper Dave CARTER very lonely to save difficult shots from Martin and Hugo GENESTET, then Simon MARTIN-BRISAC. But there was no more score and the match ended in a tie (1-1) that puts France in good position to reach the Final (if India beats Poland later in the day) but left Canada with shattered Olympic dreams.
Player of the Match was David CARTER, goal-keeper for Canada.