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Germany Men win Gold in Beijing
23 Aug 2008 10:43

© FIH / Gordon Morrison

An early penalty corner goal from Christopher Zeller was enough to take the German men to a 1-0 win over Spain and put the Gold around their necks in the final match of the Olympic hockey tournament in Beijing.

Australia took the Bronze medal with a stunning 6:2 win over The Netherlands. Eddie OCKENDEN was the star of the show, scoring two and setting up another as The Kookaburras cruised to victory.

Earlier in the day, Great Britain surprisingly took fifth place by scoring five second half goals against Korea, with forward Jonty CLARKE scoring a brace of field goals. Other strikes came from the sticks of Barry MIDDLETON, Ashley JACKSON, and Glenn KIRKHAM. The Chinese team delighted the home crowd by grabbing a dramatic win over South Africa in extra-time to finish 11th in this Olympic competition.

Gold Medal Match
Germany defeat Spain 1:0 (1:0) 

Emulating the Dutch women who took the Olympic Gold in Beijing as World Champions, the German men today wrestled victory in the final from rivals Spain to pronounce themselves Olympic Champions. 

Both teams started by playing low intensity hockey, Germany knocking the ball around on risk-free trajectories while Spain was happy to leave them to it, patiently waiting for their opportunities.

A 16th minute penalty corner changed all that however, as Christopher Zeller powered a cracking flick under the crossbar to give his team the lead, putting all the pressure on Spain.

Spain coped well, shifting a gear up and gaining momentum as time progressed. They looked extremely threatening as the break approached but were unable to get on the scoreboard before halftime interrupted their efforts.

In the second half, Spain kept attacking but still failed to break down the rock solid German defence. Dominating open play for much of the second half, they were faced with a clock ticking down relentlessly, the pressure ever increasing, and a German wall that just didn't give way.

Late in the half, with Spain getting frustrated and desperate in equal measures, Germany even had more chances than Spain who seemed to be repelled by the German goal and circle, and losing Sergi Enrique to a yellow card didn't help the Iberians.

Germany held their lead down to the final whistle with an amazing effort in defence, while the Spanish played a great game but entirely lacked the finishing touch.

This win confirms Christopher Zeller as a big match player - taking Germany to Olympic glory with his one goal today, when two years ago, it was him as well who led the Germans to their World Cup title.For German striker Florian Keller it is also a special moment: he adds his Gold to the four that are already in the family, with his grandfather, father, brother and sister all having been Olympic Gold medallists.

Bronze Medal Match
Australia defeat The Netherlands 6:2 (4:2)

Australia took the Bronze medal with a stunning 6:2 win over The Netherlands. Eddie OCKENDEN was the star of the show, scoring two and setting up another as The Kookaburras cruised to victory.

The Bronze medal match exploded into life in the 5th minute when sensational youngster Eddie OCKENDEN scored two terrific close range goals in a thirty second period. It was 3:0 after nine minutes when Des ABBOTT - the other young superstar of the tournament - was released by Jamie DWYER before slapping the ball through the legs of Guus VOGELS.

The Netherlands were completely stunned, but Teun de NOOIJER won a 12th minute penalty corner that was clinically dispatched by Taeke TAEKEMA, who showed no signs of reduced confidence following his vital penalty stroke miss in the semi-final against Germany.

Teun de NOOIJER pulled The Netherlands back to within one goal of Australia with a smart deflection only for Eli MATHESON to re-establish the two-goal cushion, tapping in a cross-shot from OCKENDEN.

Australia went even further ahead early in the second half when Rob HAMMOND caught a Netherlands player in possession, drove into the circle and cracked a reverse stick effort into the net.

With 13 minutes to go, The Netherlands won a penalty corner, giving TAEKEMA a chance to keep comeback hopes alive, but Stephen LAMBERT frustrated the tournament top scorer with a solid save. However, Australia's set piece expert Luke DOERNER had more success at the other end, flicking a ferocious effort just under the cross bar for a 6:2 lead. The goal was the final blow to The Netherlands, who could not recover.

For Australia, the Bronze medal will help to ease the disappointment at elimination at the hands of Spain.

Classification Match 5th-6th
Great Britain
defeat Korea 5:2 (0:0)

The proverbial 'game of two halfs' was played out between Korea and Great Britain. With the half time score at 0:0, the ball hit the back of the net on seven separate occasions in the second period, as GB ran out 5:2 winners to seal fifth place. Winger Jonty CLARKE grabbed a brace of field goals, with other strikes came from the sticks of Barry MIDDLETON, Ashley JACKSON, and Glenn KIRKHAM.

The first half was fairly uneventful, although there were chances for both sides to take the lead. Richard MANTELL had a good penalty corner effort acrobatically saved by Korean keeper Dong Sik KO, while Jong Hyun JANG seeing his PC shot saved well by Alistair McGREGOR in the GB goal.

It was an evenly contested game, but the lack of goals and genuine scoring chances gave no indication of what was to happen in the second half. Great Britain came out of the blocks quickest, and put some real pressure on the Korean goal. Eventually, the team got the breakthrough when Barry MIDDLETON passed into the goal from close range in the 44th minute.

The lead lasted less than four minutes, when Jong Hyun JANG slammed in a penalty corner, but Great Britain moved back in front a minute later when Ashley JACKSON scored a penalty stroke after Richard ALEXANDER had been cynically fouled. 2:1 became 3:1 when Jonty CLARKE scored the first of his two goals, diving full-length to touch in a cross from the left by Stphen DICK in the 54th minute.

CLARKE put the game beyond the reach of Korea in the 63rd minute, when he received a pass from Ashley JACKSON. With just the goalkeeper to beat, he moved to the left and passed into an empty net.

Hye Sung HYUN scored a penalty corner in the 67th minute before Glenn KIRKHAM’s massively deflected field goal secured a 5:2 victory for Great Britain.  

Classification 11th-12th
China defeat South Africa: 4-3 aet (1-1)

The Chinese team delighted the home crowd by grabbing a dramatic win over South Africa in extra-time to finish 11th in this Olympic competition.

South Africa were first on the scoreboard with an opportunistic goal by Lungile TSOLEKILE, picking up the rebound from his first shot to slot it in goal. The remainder of the period was very intense, with plenty of chances for both sides often wasted by too much precipitation. The South African thought that they had successfully weathered the Chinese flurry of attacks when Yubo NA managed to put his stick on the ball in the middle of a goal mouth scramble and push it in goal to level the score going into the break.

The Chinese crowd faithfully and relentlessly pushed their team in second period and was rewarded when Captain Yi SONG connected on two penalty-corners in quick succession to give his team a seemingly insurmountable two-goal lead.

The deed seemed done at that point, with the exhausted South African players committing numerous unforced errors. But they somehow picked themselves up and found the resources to tie the game, first with a penalty-stroke converted by Ian SYMONS then a penalty-corner slotted out of reach of the Chinese keeper by Austin SMITH with a handful of seconds left on the clock, pushing the game into sudden death overtime.

The first period of overtime was played cautiously by both teams, with the threat of the Golden Goal hanging over the field. The game then suddenly opened up in the final stages. South Africa had an opportunity to grab the prize with a penalty-corner but, incredibly, could not control this golden chance. China immediately earn a penalty-corner of their own at the other end, and Yi SONG delivered his team and the crowd with a master strike for his third goal of the game, his seventh of the competition.

This Chinese win, their first of the competition, is a just reward for a team that played an attractive brand of attacking hockey and was never outclassed by their more experienced opponents. South Africa, on the other end, can only be disappointed to leave with the wooden spoon, their worst Olympic finish after their 10th place in 1996 and 2004.

2008 Olympic Games, Men – Beijing, China
Results Saturday 23 August

China – South Africa 4:3 aet (1 :1)

RSA  Lungile TSOLEKILE (FG) 3mn
CHN  Yubo NA (FG) 32mn
CHN  Yi SONG (PC) 53mn
CHN  Yi SONG (PC) 58mn
RSA  Ian SYMONS (PS) 63mn
RSA  Austin SMITH (PC) 70mn
CHN  Yi SONG (PC) 85mn (Golden Goal)

Korea – Great Britain 2:5 (0:0)
GBR Barry MIDDLETON (FG) 44min
KOR Jong Hyun JANG (PC) 48min
GBR Ashley JACKSON (PS) 49min
GBR Jonty CLARKE (FG) 54min
GBR Jonty CLARKE (FG) 63min
KOR Hye Sung HYUN (PC) 67min
GBR Glenn KIRKHAM (FG) 70min

The Netherlands - Australia 2:6 (2:4)
AUS Eddie OCKENDEN (FG) 5min
AUS Eddie OCKENDEN (FG) 6min
AUS Desmond ABBOTT (FG) 9min
NED Taeke TAEKEMA (PC) 12min
NED Teun de NOOIJER (FG) 27min
AUS Rob HAMMOND (FG) 42min
AUS Luke DOERNER (PC) 62min

Germany - Spain 1:0 (1:0)
GER Christopher ZELLER (PC) 16min

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