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Germany edges Netherlands to meet Spain in Olympic men's hockey final
2008-08-21 23:40:00   Xinhuanet  

 

BEIJING, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- World No. 2 Germany roared into the Olympic men's hockey final with a "sudden death" win over the Netherlands here on Thursday, to meet unexpected contender Spain who beat defending titlists Australia 3-2.

The third-ranked Netherlands did not take a lead until the 66th minute when Timme Hoyng converted a penalty corner, but Germany equalised as Philip Zeller scored a field goal from close with only two minutes to go.

The match ended with 1-1 tie at full time. As no golden goal was made in the 15-minute extra time, a penalty shootout was forced.

The teams each converted three of the five strokes in the tie-breaker and then the match went into the sudden-death round.

Christopher Zeller's powerful shot gave Germany a 4-3 lead. However, the Dutch penalty corner specialist Taeke Taekema's goal was held off by German goalie Max Weinhold.

"It's a great game as the two teams are top of the world and we know each other very well. It's the moment to keep it 1-0, but I'm disappointed that we failed," said Roelant.

Dutch goalie Guus Vogels said, "If I can save two goals, it is normally enough. But not today. Today they had one more than I could save. It is sad but I think we still played the best we could."

"It's a narrow game like everybody expected it," said Markus Weise, Germany's coach, "I'm pleased with my team as they played well today and they did not play their heads down after the 1-0 down."

In the other semifinal game, The fourth-ranked Spain came back from 2-0 down to defeat world champions Australia and fire the first shot for gold in 12 years, while the Aussies had no chance to defend their title.

Santiago Freixa scored the winning goal for Spain in the 68th minute.

"It is my last time to coach in the Olympics. I will retire after the Games, so it is very important for me," said Australian coach Barry Dancer.

"We had a good start and put a lot of pressure in the field. Generally speaking, we played very well. But it is very disappointing that we cannot fight for a gold medal now," he noted, adding that they would find their deficiency from the match for further improvement.

"When I went into the match, I had a good feeling. I would like to congratulate my staff and the biggest compliments should go to the players," said Spain's coach Maurits Hendriks.

Germany and Spain will fight for gold and Australia play the Netherlands for bronze on Saturday.

In the 7th-10th classification round this morning, Belgium finished ninth, beating Canada 3-0 and New Zealand downed Pakistan4-2 and took the seventh position.

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