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Olympic Reports - Day 8
17 Aug 2008 08:27

© FIH / Gordon Morrison

In the morning, Canada virtually ended Great Britain's hopes of reaching the semifinals by forcing a draw from them, while Korea defeated Belgium to stay in the contention for their spot in the top four.

In the afternoon, Pakistan defeated South Africa while China dealt a heavy blow to New Zealand's aspirations for their first top four finish in Olympic hockey since 1976 by wrestling a draw from them.

The late games saw Australia and The Netherlands draw 2:2, virtually guarenteeing their participation in the semi-finals. Germany defeated Spain 1:0 to put themselves back in in medal contention. 

Great Britain draw Canada 1:1 (0:0)

Great Britain’s hopes of getting a medal at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games were virtually ended thanks to a 1:1 draw with Canada. The result puts GB on seven points for the tournament, with the top two sides – Australia and The Netherlands – currently sitting on nine points with a game in hand. Britain need to hope that Australia lose their match against the Netherlands later today to create a winner takes all match with the Kookaburras on Tuesday.

With the 08:30 start, Great Britain appeared as if they were half asleep, and nearly conceded when Wayne FERNANDEZ got behind the GB defence only for Richard MANTELL to chase back and make a timely interception. When GB final awoke, they created some good opportunities, but Canadian keeper Mike MAHOOD was in sparkling form to deny Richard MANTELL and Barry MIDDLETON.

Players from both teams saw yellow in the first half, with Canada’s Sukhwinder SINGH and GB’s Matt DALY forced to take a rest as the match threatened to overheat. Britain’s James TINDALL saw yellow in the in the 41st minute, and Canada took full advantage of the extra man when veteran Ken PEREIRA smashed a shot into the goal in the 47th minute.

Great Britain struggled to assert themselves on the Canadians, but eventually Matt DALY grabbed a 67th minute equaliser, deflecting in a cross from Richard MANTELL.  

Great Britain
will be disappointed with their performance in this match, and will now realistically be aiming to finish 3rd in the pool for the 5th / 6th place play-off match.

Korea defeat Belgium 3:1 (0:1)

Belgium were defeated 3:1 by Korea in the second match of the day, with a brace of goals coming from Hyo Sik YOU helping his side to victory. Korea came from a goal behind to score three times in five minutes to kill off their opponents and move into second place in Pool A ahead of the evening matches.

Belgium took a deserved lead in through Jerome DEKEYSER in the 20th minute who blasted into the goal from a tight angle after being forced wide by Korean keeper Myung Ho LEE. They deserved their lead, with the Koreans unable to play their usual quick moving passing hockey due to the tactics being employed by the Belgians. Jerome TRUYENS was convinced he had scored Belgium’s second goal when he appeared to deflect a shot into the goal from the top of the circle. After a long wait the video umpire decided that the goal should not stand, much the the frustration of the Belgian players.

Korea grabbed an equaliser in the 46th minute through Hyo Sik YOU, who deflected a cross from the right into the goal. This goal was also subject to the video umpire, with the Belgium players convinced of an infringement. Belgium simply fell apart after the award of the goal, and Korea put their opponents to the sword with Jong Hyun JANG netting a scorching penalty corner and a second from Hyo Sik YOU.

Belgium rallied near the end, but Korea were never likely to let the lead slip. Korea play Spain on Tuesday in what is their final match of the Pool phase, needing a victory to have any chance of reaching the semi-finals.

Pakistan defeat South Africa 3:1 (1:1)

South Africa fought hard and scored their first goal of the tournament in their contest against Pakistan, but the Green Shirts proved to be too good and ran out comfortable 3:1 winners. The result puts Pakistan onto six points in the Pool, closing in on Great Britain after they failed to defeat Canada earlier in the day. Pakistan will be hoping that Australia can beat the British when the two sides meet on Tuesday, while they face the tough task of overturning a Netherlands side that has looked impressive throughout the tournament.

Pakistan took the lead in the ninth minute when Muhammad JAVED turned the ball into the goal, but South Africa fought back and eventually grabbed an equaliser thanks to a penalty corner from Austin SMITH. Nine minutes into the second half Shakeel ABBASI put Pakistan back in front with an excellent high finish from the middle of the circle. Pakistan’s Rehan BUTT was instrumental in their third goal when he ran into the circle and hit the post before a second shot caught a South Africa player on the line resulted in a penalty stroke. Muhammad SAQLAIN made no mistake from the spot to effectively secure the points for Pakistan.

Eric ROSE-INNES received a yellow card with two minutes left to play for taking down Rehan BUTT, but by then the match was essentially beyond the reach of the South Africans, who are still to claim a point at these Olympic Games.

New Zealand draw China 2:2 (1:1)

The home team, previously without points, all but destroyed the New Zealanders' hopes for a semifinal spot today by drawing them two all. The Blacksticks thus bremain behind Spain and Korea with one round of matches to go, and Germany able to overtake them with a win over Spain in their fourth match.

China started off blazing, scoring a goal as early as the third minute through Song Yi off a penalty corner variation. It was Song Yi again, fifteen minutes later, who upped the ante with a second penalty corner goal, and New Zealand started to get desperate.

A late goal from Simon Child just before the break was a great relief for the Blacksticks, making their way to possible victory that much easier, but they were still chasing the lead they had allowed the home team in the early phase of the match.

In the second half, the Kiwis did manage the all important goal thanks to Shea McAleese who batted a loose ball into the net halfway through the half. That was all they could do however, despite frantic last dicth efforts towards the end of the game, and the scoreline remained tied.

In a fantastic game, another showcase piece for the sport in front of a stadium filled to near capacity with an enthusiastic and responsive crowd, China thus won their first point of the tournament, thereby making it very difficult for New Zealand to still reach the semifinals: they would need to defeat the World Champions in their last pool stage game to go through, a daunting prospect considering the form the Germans showed themselves in today.

Australia draw Netherlands 2:2 (0:0)

Taeke TAEKEMA scored his seventh and eighth goals of the tournament as The Netherlands netted a last-gasp equaliser against Australia. The match finished 2:2, effectively sending both teams through to the semi finals of the Beijing 2008 Games, thanks to their massively superior goal difference of Great Britain, the team closest to them in Pool B.
The match was a thrilling contest enjoyed by a large crowd who were entertained from the first minute to the very last second. The Netherlands were marginally the better team in the first half, but could not find a way past Stephen LAMBERT.

The Netherlands took the lead in the 55th minute when arguably the world’s best corner flicker stepped up and launched a typically unstoppable effort into the goal. Australia were unlucky to be behind, having been the better team in the second half. However, it did not take long to equalise, with the supremely talented Eddie OCKENDEN getting an important field goal for his team. Three minutes later, Luke DOERNER proved that he is also impressive in penalty corner situations to put Australia 2:1 ahead. It seemed that Australia were going to take all three points, but another brilliant penalty corner from TAEKEMA split the points.

On balance, it was a fair reflection of a game that was in spells dominated by both teams. Australia play Great Britain in their pool match, with the Netherlands facing Pakistan. 

Germany defeat Spain 1:0 (1:0)
Moritz Fuerste’s first half strike was enough to give Germany a 1:0 win over Spain, putting his side back in the hunt for a Gold medal. Qualification for the semi finals is now firmly in their hands but it is not going to be easy, needing to defeat fellow qualification hopefuls New Zealand. 

 After a pretty even opening 25 minutes, Eduard ARBOS came close to opened the scoring for Spain when he deflected a cross from outside the circle only for Max WEINHOLD to make an amazing save. A follow-up shot came from Victor SOJO, which was wide of the target. Germany took the lead in the 34th minute, when Moritz FUERSTE pounced on a loose ball in the circle and smashed it home before reeling away in celebration. It was a tidy finish from the German, who clearly knew the importance of his strike when he celebrated with his team-mates.

Spain peppered the Germany goal with shots in the second half, but their opponents were not in the mood to concede. Max WEINHOLD made a couple of terrific saves for his side, while at the other end Florian KELLER went close to extending Germany’s lead with a well taken penalty corner.

Germany took the victory, giving themselves a lifeline in the race for the semi-finals.

2008 Olympic Games, Men – Beijing, China
Results Sunday 17 August

Great Britain Canada 1:1 (0:0)
CAN Ken PEREIRA (FG) 47min
GBR Matt DALY (FG) 67min

Korea Belgium 3:1 (0:1)
BEL  Jerome DEKEYSER (FG) 20min
KOR Hyo Sik YOU (FG) 46min
KOR Jong Hyun JANG (PC) 50min
KOR Hyo Sik YOU (FG) 51min

Pakistan South Africa 3:1 (1:1)
PAK  Muhammad JAVED (FG) 9min
RSA  Austin SMITH (PC) 31min
PAK  Shakeel ABBASI (FG) 44min
PAK  Muhammad SAQLAIN (PS) 60min

New Zealand - China 2:2 (1:2)
CHN Yi SONG (PC) 3min
CHN Yi SONG (PC) 17min
NZL Simon CHILD (FG) 34min
NZL Shea McALEESE (FG) 54min

Australia – Netherlands 2:2 (0:0)
NED Taeke TAEKEMA (PC) 55min
AUS Eddie OCKENDEN (FG) 58min
AUS Luke DOERNER (PC) 61min
NED Taeke TAEKEMA (PC) 70min

Germany – Spain 1:0 (1:0)
GER Moritz FUERSTE (FG) 34min

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