Olympic Games London 2012
London, Great Britain - July 30 - 11, 2012


Dutch success hands Germany semi-final pass

August 7, 2012
Germany advance at Korea's expense; Belgium cutting edge defies India for third

Korea vs. Netherlands: 2-4 (half-time: 0-2)

The Netherlands were already qualified for the semi-finals while Korea needed a win to have a slim hope of going through, depending on the result of Germany later in the day against New Zealand. But they were unable to set up that opportunity as the Dutch victory eliminated the Asian side with the Germans profiting.

First chances were for Rogier Hofman after ten minutes of play. Following a powerful shot, he picked up the rebound from the goalkeeper and had plenty of time to adjust a second shot, but Lee Myung Ho in the Korean goal was up to the task on both occasions. The teams were offering an enjoyable display of attacking hockey, with superior individual skills on both sides, and the crowd quickly warmed up in the chilly early morning.

The Netherlands earned a penalty-corner mid-way through the period and Mink Van Der Weerden slammed it in goal to open the scoring. Soon after, Valentin Verga surprised the Korean defense with a sudden shot from the top of the circle and the Dutch team appeared on their way to a comfortable fifth win. Korea was however not ready to give up yet. They had a series of penalty-corners in the final minutes of the period, but Jang Jong Hyun’s flicks were saved by Jaap Stockmann in the Dutch goal and the break was reached with the two goal gap.

Korea kept trying and had a few good chances early in second period, first for Lee Nam Yong on a ball rolling tantalizingly on the goal line behind Jaap Stockmann, then by Kim Young Jin who collected a long ball high behind the Dutch defense but failed to redirect it past Stockmann. Their hopes of coming back were dashed when Roderick Weusthof was fouled when progressing in the circle and converted himself the penalty-stroke to build a seemingly insurmountable 3-goal lead.

Nam Hyun Woo closed the gap on penalty-corner with still 16 minutes left in the period. He however injured himself delivering the flick and had to be taken away on a stretcher. Korea showed their depth in the exercise when Jang Jong Hyun was as impressive and efficient on the next penalty-corner chance, closing the gap to one goal. It was too close for comfort for The Netherlands and they promptly re-established their two-goal lead by Billy Bakker after a swift counter-attack that baffled the Korean defense.

With the win, The Netherlands finished unbeaten in the group stage and advanced to the semi-finals as winner of Pool B, while Germany were guaranteed a semi-final place at the expense of Korea.

(Yan Huckendubler)

For more information on KOR v NED, click here.


Germany vs New Zealand: 5-5 (half-time: 2-4)

Christopher Zeller’s late goal condemned New Zealand to fifth place in Pool B, denying the black sticks who led the game for all of 63 minutes of an incredible tie.

Nick Wilson’s tip in and Richard Petherick’s penalty corner strike had New Zealand 2-0 inside six minutes before Oskar Deecke got one back just three minutes later. Zeller stung the base of the post from a corner soon after in an all-action opening salvo before a two-goal wedge was re-established when Ryan Archibald’s superb right-wing cross ended up on Stephen Jenness’s stick for a simple finish and 3-1.

Florian Fuchs replied was a nicely worked three-on-one move, passed around Kyle Pontifex but Simon Child closed out the half with his first goal on the half hour, calmly flipping home a corner rebound. His second, making it 5-2, came just 45 seconds into the second period, cracking home from the edge of the circle.

From there, though, Germany discovered their scoring touch. Thilo Stralkowski drove home a penalty corner and Zeller got the deficit down to one, finishing off another indoor-style move. And his last act was to flip home his side’s fifth goal from off the ground. It made little tangible difference for Germany who remain in second place and through to play Australia in the semi-final. They will fret over the health of captain Max Mueller who picked up a nasty thumb injury in the first half, not appearing for the duration of the second period.

But for New Zealand it means they are stuck in fifth and destined for the ninth/tenth playoff against Argentina rather than seventh against Pakistan. 

(Stephen Findlater)

For more information on GER vs NZL, click here


India vs Belgium: 0-3 (half-time: 0-1)

Belgium moved a big step closer to third spot in Pool B as they had the clinical edge India lacked to run up a misleading 3-0 scoreline as Vincent Vanasch was by far the busier goalkeeper on the day. Superb strikes from Jerome Dekeyser, Gauthier Boccard and Tom Boon – on his 100th international appearance – mean the Belgians have a shot at fifth place in the competition having already massively improved on their pre-tournament ranking of 11th.They kept third spot by virtue of New Zealand's draw with Germany in the day's final game.

Dekeyser started the scoring in brilliant fashion in the 15th minute, racing onto Felix Denayer’s through ball, finishing first time with a rocket over Bharat Kumar Chetri’s shoulder. India’s vitality on the counter attack should have yielded a couple of goals in response. Standing in their way, though, was the superb Vincent Vanasch while Shivendra Singh clipped the outside of the post.

While Indian chances went astray, Belgium snapped up their half-chances and Boccard profited from a superb piece of umpiring from Nigel Iggo. He held his whistle after Boon seemed to have earned a penalty corner, and the 20-year-old Boccard fired home through a narrow opening. And Boon closed out the win after more Vanasch heroics with two minutes to go with an excellent, low reverse-stick shot. 

India end the pool phase with five losses from five and will now play South Africa for eleventh place on Saturday at 8.30am.

(Stephen Findlater)

For more information on IND vs BEL, click here


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