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Olympic Reports - Day 4
13 Aug 2008 06:06

© FIH / Gordon Morrison

Australia defeat South Africa 10:0 (5:0)

The Kookaburras made it two wins from two matches by demolishing South Africa 10:0, with two-time FIH World Player of the Year Jamie DWYER playing a starring role. The Kookaburras captain scored the opening goal and created another to take his side onto six points in their bid to defend their Olympic title. Australia midfielder Eli MATHESON claimed a hat trick to leave South Africa rooted to the bottom on Pool B.

Australia took the lead in the only the second minute of the match thanks to Dwyer’s close range deflection, getting ahead of his marker to steer a cross from the left past South Africa keeper Chris HIBBERT. Goal number two was similar to the first, with Eli MATHESON getting the vital touch to another cross from the left wing before SCHUBERT deflected in a cross from the right to make it 3:0 in the 27th minute. DWYER produced a moment of brilliance in the 29th minute, beating two players on the left with spellbinding skill before sending a wonderful pass to Eli MATHESON to slam into the net. David GUEST made the score 6:0 with a powerful penalty corner on the strikes either side of half time.

A brilliant volley from DWYER made the score 7:0, with KAVANAGH netting again shortly before MATHESON completed his hat trick. Des ABBOTT scored goal number ten, completing the scoring. It was a devastating performance by Australia, who look as though they will take some beating. Australia meet Pakistan in their next fixture, with South Africa playing Great Britain.

Korea defeat China 5:2 (2:2)

The second match of the day saw Pool A rivals China and Korea play out an enthralling contest of attacking hockey, with Korea running out eventual winners. A virtuoso performance from penalty corner expert Jong Hyun JANG – who scored a hat trick – guaranteed all three points for Korea, as they fought back from a two goal deficit.

Very much like their opening game against Germany, China took an early lead with Yubo NA slapping home a field goal when the Korea defenders failed to deal with a pass across the face of goal. Minutes later, China went 2-0 up when team captain Yi SONG sent a penalty corner fractionally inside the right post, sending the large crowd into rapturous celebration. Korea were right back in it in the 13th minute when Jong Heo SEO deflected a brilliant cross from Sung Hoon YOON into the goal. On the stroke of half time, Jong Hyun JANG scored his first goal of the tournament with a ferocious drag-flick hit the back board to tie the scores. JANG then took the score to 4-2 by completing his hat trick with stunning penalty flicks in the 55th and 57th minute, effectively killing off the chances of a China victory. Seong Jung KANG completed the scoring with just a couple of minutes left to play flicking past the oncoming China keeper Rifeng SU.

It was a much needed win for Korea following their 3:1 defeat to New Zealand on Monday. China have played very well in their first two matches but have nothing to show for it, finding themselves at the bottom of Pool A. Korea play Germany in their next match, while China are up against Spain. 

Belgium draw Germany 1:1 (1:1)

Pool A sides Belgium and Germany were involved in an entertaining match but could not be separated, with the score finishing at 1:1. The result leaves Germany on four points, while Belgium have picked up their first point of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.  

Although the two teams seemed evenly matched in the first half, it was Germany who certainly had the better of the early chances, with star striker Christopher ZELLER hitting both the post and the crossbar with ferocious penalty corner efforts. They eventually took the lead through a reverse stick shot from Matthias WITTHAUS in the 19th minute, scoring his first Olympic goal since Sydney 2000. Belgium soon were back on level terms when Cedric CHARLIER forced the ball into an empty net, scoring his first ever Olympic goal.

Germany started the second half as the better side, but Belgium soon forced their way back into the contest and arguably dominated the latter stages of the match. The most dramatic moment came when Belgium were awarded a penalty corner in the final seconds of the match. It was a fascinating situation, bringing back memories of when Belgium defeated Germany with the last hit of the game in the Bronze medal match at the 2007 EuroHockey Nations Championships.  However, the drag-flick from Jerome DEKEYSER was straight into the pads of Max Max WEINHOLD, ensuring that the points would be shared.  

Pakistan defeat Canada 3:1 (0:1)

Pakistan started the match against Canada off aggressively, looking dangerous from the beginning while Canada took a while to settle into the match.

The Canadians avoided the goal however, with a lot of help by world-class goalkeeper Mike Mahood, and stunned the Greenshirts with a goal from a penalty corner executed after time ended. Wayne Fernandes' flick was saved, Paul Wettlaufer's shot on the rebound hit the post, but on the third attempt, Bindi Kullar scooped another shot over the goalkeeper.

After the break however, Pakistan came back to immediately turn the game around with a double hit in less than a minute. Muhammad Imran got his side on track converting a penalty corner with a cracking flick just under the cross bar, and within the minute Shafqat Rasool grabbed the lead for his team with a powerful hit from the edge of the circle.

Muhammad Waqas sealed the deal for Pakistan with another goal in the 57th minute, outplaying the Canadian goalkeeper and two defenders on his own on a quick break and sink the ball into the net with a reverse stick hit from the top of the circle.

As the last few seconds ticked down, the Canadians attacked full of desperation, but the Greenshirts' defense stood tight to not let them pass, and Pakistan recorded a deserved win, having been the more dangerous team. It is a welcome win for Pakistan after their disappointing opening loss to Great Britain, while Canada are in for an uphill battle after two defeats in as many matches.

Spain defeat New Zealand 1:0 (0:0)

In a showcase display of hockey at its best, Spain and New Zealand disputed one of the most exciting encounters of this tournament so far.

From the start, both teams played highest level attacking hockey, creating scores of scoring opportunities in a fast-paced match.

Spain looked more dangerous than their opponents in the first half, especially in a flurry of forward activity during the last few minutes before the break, but in the second half, they seemed to be losing their train of thought.

The Spanish lost their rhythm, and suddenly found themselves chasing the Kiwis who were doing all the playing for a big part of the second half. The Blacksticks had a number of good opportunities that well warranted a goal, but could not score, not even on the two short corners they managed to win.

Towards the end of the match however, the game see-sawed back and Spain took charge again after the lull, attacking frantically in the hope for the elusive victory.

It looked like it was all over however, with the clock ticking down mercilessly, while the Spanish waves of attacks time and again broke on the New Zealand defense.

But then, there it was: an incredible goal with just four seconds on the clock, giving Spain victory. On the last attack of the match, David Alegre went into the circle and launched a shot that was deflected by a Kiwi defender but saw the ball land at Santi Freixa's stick. Freixa spun for the reverse stick shot and despite the large number of New Zealanders around Freixa and between him and goal, the ball somehow passed and saw umpire John Wright signal the goal just as the final whistle sounded.

This second win in as many games puts Spain in a very good position to reach the semifinals while the result comes as a bitter disappointment to the New Zealanders who were on a high after their impressive come-from-behind win against Korea earlier this week.

The Netherlands defeat Great Britain 1:0 (0:0)
Great Britain put up a superb fight, but eventually The Netherlands secured a 1:0 victory to keep their 100% win record at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
Great Britain frustrated the Netherlands for the majority of the first half, not allowing their opponents to win a penalty corner by ensuring their tackles were outside of the circle. With penalty corner king Taeke Taekema on the field, it was crucial not to give him the opportunity to open the scoring. However, Taekema was to have his chance in the second half. His first and second efforts were well saved and off target, but his attempt in the 63rd minute was a brilliant flick that gave GB keeper Ali McGregor no chance of saving. GB never recovered from the goal, falling to their first defeat of the tournament.

2008 Olympic Games, Men - Beijing, China
Results Wednesday August 13

South Africa – Australia 0:10 (0:5)
AUS Jamie DWYER (FG) 2min
AUS  Eli MATHESON (FG) 14min
AUS  Grant SCHUBERT (FG) 27min
AUS  Eli MATHESON (FG) 29min
AUS  David GUEST (PC) 35min
AUS  David GUEST (PC) 38min
AUS  Jamie DWYER (FG) 42min
AUS  Fergus KAVANAGH (FG) 47min
AUS  Eli MATHESON (FG) 57min
AUS  Des ABBOTT (FG) 67min

China – Korea 2:5 (2:2)
CHN Yubo NA (FG) 6min
CHN Yi SONG (PC) 8min
KOR Jong Heo SEO (FG) 13min
KOR Jong Hyun JANG (PC) 35min
KOR Jong Hyun JANG (PC) 55min
KOR Jong Hyun JANG (PC) 57min
KOR Seong Jung KANG (FG) 67min

Belgium – Germany 1:1 (1:1)
GER Matthias WITTHAUS (FG) 19min
BEL  Cedric CHARLIER (FG) 22min

Canada - Pakistan 1:3 (1:0)
CAN Bindi KULLAR (PC) 35min
PAK Muhammad IMRAN (PC) 39min
PAK Shafqat RASOOL (FG) 39min
PAK Muhammad WAQAS (FG) 57min

New Zealand - Spain 0:1 (0:0)
ESP Santi FREIXA (FG) 70min

The Netherlands – Great Britain 1:0 (0:0)
NED Taeke Taekema (PC) 63min

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