European giants Germany and Netherlands will play for the Gold Medal of MEN’s Hockey competition at London Olympics, while current world champions Australia will play for Bronze Medal against the hosts Great Britain on 11th August.
The Netherlands demonstrated world-class execution of the plans with 50% conversion rate to trounce the hosts Great Britain (9-2) in the 2nd Semi Final at Riverbank Arena. Defending Olympic champions Germany defeated the world champions Kookaburras (4-2) with disciplined hockey in a close game in 1st the Semi Final of 2012 London Olympics .
As expected, the game between the Olympic Champions and World Champions was close as usual. Though Kookaburras led twice 1-0 and 2-1, the Germans scored 3 goals in the span of just nine minutes to take a unsailable lead of 4-2 with only seven minutes remaining to the final hooter to win the game.
Australia started pressing the German defence from the word go, but Maximilian MULLER and his defending unit stood tall till the 22nd minute, when Kieran GOVERS found the target on rebound from Max WEINHOLD’s pads. On the counter attack, after WEINHOLD saved a shot on PC, Germany earned PC at the other end and German mid-fielder Moritz FURSTE hit the board with powerful low flick to level the scores in 27th minute. Thanks to German goalie, who stood tall in between Chris CIRIELLO and the post on a PC in 28th minute, the score stayed at level terms till the lemon break.
After returning from the break, Glenn TURNER lobbed the ball over WEINHOLD in goal-mouth melee to restore the lead for Kookaburras (2-1) in 42nd minute. Germany scored on an incredible play i.e. scooped from midfield and was guided home over the keeper, but was disallowed because Oskar DEECKE played it above shoulder height while putting it over Nathan BURGERS, the Australian Goal Keeper.
Germany continued playing a composed game and Matthias WITTHAUS scored in 54th minute to level (2-2) the scores once again. Germany pushed the Aussies on their heels and scored on PC when Christopher ZELLER dragged the ball to spin and leave it for Timo WESS to complete the proceedings in 59th minute to make it 3-2 in favor of Germany. Australians pushed forward to find equalizer, but with just 7 minutes remaining, Florin FUCHS put the final nail in coffin, with sliding deflection on a cross from left flank and extended the lead for Germany to 4-2. With every second running out, Australians pushed forward but could not score anymore.
In 2nd semi final, in addition to a hat-trick each from Roderick WEUSTHOF and Billy BAKKER; Mink van der WEERDEN, veteran Teun de NOOIJER and Captain Floris EVERS scored one each in a demonstration of text-book finishing by the Dutch against hosts Great Britain. Ashley JACKSON and Robert MOORE could find the target for the Great Britain.
The Dutch were so accurate in executing their moves, which is evident in their statistics of 50% conversion rate; they did not really face any threat from the hosts. Great Britain had their moments in the match but not for very long, Ashley JACKSON scored on PC when they were 2-1 down, earned 2 consecutive PCs in the opening minutes of 2nd half. But the hosts could not utilize on the chances to turn momentum, while Netherlands scored 5 goals in 16 minutes in 2nd half with their free-flowing hockey, moving forward in numbers, sometimes the Orange shirts outnumbered the brits in front of James FAIR.
In the classification matches, New Zealand defeated Argentina (3-1) to finish 9th. Pakistan finished at 7th position, a place better than their FIH World Ranking, after they came from 2-1 down at half time to beat Korea 3-2.