Tokyo 2020 (Day-6: 29 July 2021): Netherlands & Australia continue dominance of women’s pools; South Africa men stun Olympic giants Germany 

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Day 6 (Evening): The Netherlands and Australia maintained their 100% winning runs in the women’s Hockey competition at Tokyo 2020, ending Day 6 at the top of their respective pools after another pulsating evening of action at the Oi Hockey Stadium.

Both teams have earned a maximum 12 points from their four matches, with the Dutch earning a 1-0 Pool A win against reigning Olympic champions Great Britain – a rematch of the Rio 2016 gold medal game – before Australia also ran out 1-0 victors, defeating Pool B rivals New Zealand in the Oceania derby match.

Also in Pool B, Argentina joined Australia in the competition quarter-finals thanks to a hard-fought win over Japan, a result which ended the Cherry Blossoms hopes of reaching the knock-out stages of the competition.

More information about the matches can be found below. 

Women’s Pool B

Spain 2-0 China
Spain’s hopes of securing a place in the competition quarter-finals received a huge boost thanks to a 2-0 win over China, a result which moved the Red Sticks onto six points to keeps their qualification future very much in their own hands. Should Spain claim at least a point in their final Pool B match, against Japan on Saturday (31 July), their place in the knock-out stages will be confirmed. China, who have three points, need both a big victory over New Zealand in their final pool match and for other results to work in their favour if they are to progress.

A brilliantly worked penalty corner put Spain into a 3rd minute lead, with Beatriz Perez touching home an intricate yet effective routine. China pressed hard for an equaliser in the latter stages of the first quarter and early in the second before being hit by a Spanish sucker punch, with Berta Bonastre finishing off a counterattack from close range. That strike knocked the wind out of the sails of the China team, who struggled to recover and failed to register a single shot on target against their opponents from Spain, who were well worth their victory.

It was a milestone match for umpire Michelle Meister of Germany, who took charge of her 100th international to earn her Golden Whistle.

Match information and statistics can be found on Olympics.com by clicking here.

Japan 1-2 Argentina
Delfina Merino marked her 300th international appearance by creating the winning goal as Argentina sealed a place in the competition quarter-finals, defeating host nation Japan in a tightly contested encounter. Las Leonas now have taken nine points from an available 12 in Pool B to stay very much in the running for a high finish ahead of the cross-over quarter-finals. For Japan, the defeat means that they can no longer qualify for the knock-out stages.

Agustina Gorzelany’s low penalty corner drag-flick put Las Leonas ahead ten minutes into the first quarter, but Japan – who competed throughout – pulled level when Kanon Mori forced home from close range early in the second period. The winning goal arrived at the end of the third quarter, with star attacker Merino playing a clever reverse pass for Maria Granatto to fire into an open goal. The Cherry Blossoms gave it everything in the final 15 minutes to rescue something from the game, but it was to no avail.

Match information and statistics can be found on Olympics.com by clicking here.

New Zealand 0-1 Australia
Australia’s admirable form in Tokyo continued, but they were made to work incredibly hard for the points in a typically close contest with Oceania rivals New Zealand. Australia are three points clear at the top of Pool B with all of the teams having played four matches each. Australia face Argentina in their final pool match, with only a heavy defeat being enough to stop them from winning the pool.  The Black Sticks ended the day third in the standings, and face China in their final pool match.

Australia certainly dominated the statistics, recording more possession, circle entries, penalty corners and shots on target, but as always, they numbers do not tell the entire story as these two great rivals cancelled each other out for long periods. The winning goal arrived four minutes after half time, with Emily Chalker getting ahead of her marker to connect to a cross from the right to guide a brilliant deflection into the roof of the New Zealand net.

Commenting on her goal, Emily Chalker said: “It was turn up in the right place at the right time. It was a bit of a natural instinct, I did not have much time but we do a lot of training around the goalmouth and guess that training paid off. Just natural instinct, quick reaction and getting in the right place at the right time. You don’t get a lot of opportunities in a game so you have to be ready when they pop though like that.”

Match information and statistics can be found on Olympics.com by clicking here.

Women’s Pool A

Great Britain 0-1 Netherlands
The Netherlands emerged triumphant in the re-match of the Olympic gold medal match from Rio 2016, defeating defending champions Great Britain 1-0 thanks to a penalty stroke from Frederique Matla.

It was a fourth straight win for the Dutch, who have only conceded one goal in the competition thus far, scoring 15. The Netherlands remain top of Pool A with Great Britain in third place, the two teams having both played one more game than fellow pool competitors Germany, Ireland, India and South Africa, who are all in action on Friday (30 July).

Great Britain provided the Netherlands with their sternest test of the competition and certainly had their chances against the reigning World, European and FIH Hockey Pro League champions, although GB were indebted to their goalkeeper Maddie Hinch, who produced numerous exceptional saved to keep her team very much in the contest. However, even the magnificent Hinch – who, with help from her defenders, repelled all ten of the Dutch penalty corner opportunities – could do nothing about the goal, with Matla confidently flicking home from the spot to take the Netherlands onto 12 points from four games.

“It’s always a tough game”, said Netherlands attacking star Lidewij Welten. “They’re really fast so it’s always tough to play against them. They defend really tight. We like to go to space so it’s always close. They have a good team so that’s why it’s always close but we do like playing against them. We do like tough games.”

Commenting on the performance of Maddie Hinch, GB player Sarah Jones said: “It is huge to have the best keeper in the world in the net. You have that belief when she is between the posts. It was an inspired performance.”

Match information and statistics can be found on Olympics.com by clicking here.

 

Day 6 (Morning): The Netherlands and Great Britain have both joined Men’s Pool B leaders Belgium in the quarter-finals of the hockey competition of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020. A fourth successive win for Belgium sees them remain clear at the top of Pool B, with a thrilling draw between the Dutch and GB earning them a point apiece to confirm their respective berths in the knock-out stages. However, a shock defeat for Germany at the hands of South Africa means that their place in the last eight is not yet sealed, with the excellent South Africans still having a slim chance of progressing.

In Men’s Pool A, India defeated reigning Olympic champions Argentina to book a ticket to the knock-out phases, with Los Leones currently outside of those all-important top four positions with one round of matches remaining.

More information about the matches can be found below.

Results (Morning)

Men’s Pool A

India 3-1 Argentina
A tense encounter between India and Argentina was eventually won by the eight times Olympic gold medallists, who came away with a 3-1 victory against the reigning Olympic champions. India are now certain of a top two finish in Pool A, although Australia’s three point lead – and a vastly superior goal-difference – would make a first place finish unlikely going into the final round of matches.

India did most of the attacking in the first two periods, but Argentina produced an excellent defensive performance to keep the Asian giants off the scoreboard. The pressure eventually told when Varun Kumar’s deflected penalty corner drag-flick deceived Argentina goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi and flew into the net. Argentina hit back thanks to Maico Casella, who ripped a high and powerful penalty corner drag-flick into the goal to restore parity with 12 minutes of the match remaining. However, late goals from Vivek Prasad and Harmanpreet Singh wrapped up the points for India and inflicted another blow to Argentina’s hopes of defending their Olympic title.

Reflecting on the victory, India’s Rupinder Pal Singh said: “Feeling great after the win but there’s a lot of things to improve yet because the important games are coming in a few days.”

Argentina’s Maico Casella said: “It was a tough game. We defended a lot. We knew that the game was going to be like this. We played the game we had to play but they did well also. We have to play against New Zealand and we have to win. Our mind now is there.”

Match information and statistics can be found on Olympics.com by clicking here.

Men’s Pool B

Belgium 9-1 Canada
Reigning World champions Belgium thrashed Canada to earn a fourth win on the bounce, maintaining their three-point lead at the top of the Pool B standings while eliminating the Canadians from the competition in the process. Canada are now unable to qualify for the quarter-finals, being six points away from the qualification positions with just one match, against fifth-placed South Africa, remaining.  

Canada kept the brilliant Belgians under control for large periods of the opening two quarters, with Alexander Hendrickx’s 12th minute opener being cancelled out by a superb run and backhand strike from Mark Pearson. The Red Lions had to wait until the 29th minute before taking the lead, with Sebastian Dockier on target ahead of a rampant display after half time. Dockier and Hendrickx both claimed second goals either side of an effort from Felix Denayer, with Simon Gougnard and Cedric Charlier pushing the score to 7-1 at the end of the third quarter. Tom Boon and a stunning deflection from Florent Van Aubel – playing his 250th match for Belgium – completed the scoring, as Belgium hit nine goals for the second successive match; an ominous sign for their gold medal rivals here in Tokyo.

“We’ve got it all in our hands and that was the number one priority, and now we know how this kind of tournament works”, said Belgium’s Florent Van Aubel. “We’re qualified for the quarter-finals and it’s now that we have to do it. So we have one game against GB (Great Britain), an important game, and then it’s do or die, three games in a row. That’s what we play for.”

Canada goalkeeper Antoni Kindler said: “Obviously disappointed. We’re playing the world champions so to be competitive with those guys you have to play your best hockey for 60 minutes. Unfortunately we let it slip there in the third quarter. With a team of their quality, every opportunity they have they capitalise.”

Match information and statistics can be found on Olympics.com by clicking here

South Africa 4-3 Germany
South Africa produced unquestionably the biggest shock of the tournament so far with a stunning 4-3 victory over the much-fancied Germany. While the result keeps South Africa’s chances of qualifying for the competition quarter-finals technically alive, they would need not only for results to go in their favour but also for a dramatic change in goal-difference if they are to catch the Germans, who ended the day fourth in the Pool B standings.

Germany justified their status as pre-match favourites when Timm Herzbruch fired home a messy penalty corner, but South Africa were level just a minute later thanks to a penalty corner of their own, with Matt Guise-Brown slamming a rocket against the backboard. Keenan Horne put South Africa ahead on the stroke of quarter time, but goals from Lukas Windfeder and Constantin Staib swung the match back in Germany’s favour, earning them a 3-2 half-time lead. Germany battered South Africa throughout the third period, but a superb counter-attack goal inspired by the exceptional Dayaan Cassiem resulted in Nicolas Spooner levelling the scores at 3-3. The winner came from the stick of Dayaan’s younger brother Mustaphaa Cassiem, with the 19-year-old – who was crying tears of joy at the end – seeing his speculative cross end up in the goal via a Germany stick, giving South Africa a famous victory over the European giants.

“It’s awesome”, said South Africa captain Tim Drummond. “It’s something we’ve trained really hard for and moments like this and results. We knew we had it in us and it’s just great for the guys to get this feeling now and hopefully we can remember this feeling.”

Germany’s Lukas Windfeder said: “Our aim was to win here. Then we get 3-2 after a difficult start, we have everything in our own hands, but let us counter stupidly twice. Of course, there should have been more goals today through chances and corners, but it can’t be that we have to score five or six goals per game to win. We want to decide the matches for us on the good defensive. And that doesn’t work that way. ”

Match information and statistics can be found on Olympics.com by clicking here.


Netherlands 2-2 Great Britain

Great Britain produced an incredible late fightback to steal a 2-2 draw against the Netherlands, a result which put both teams through to the knock-out stages. Both teams have seven points, with Netherlands currently sitting second in the standings above third placed GB due to a superior goal difference.

Thierry Brinkman put the Netherlands ahead in the 22nd minute before a penalty corner from Jip Janssen doubled the Dutch advantage five just a minute after half-time. Great Britain battled hard to get back into the contest and got the reward that their perseverance deserved thanks to a late double from striker Sam Ward, who guided home an open play deflection before bagging a penalty corner with three minutes left to play. The Dutch had a succession of penalty corners in the final minute, but could not find a way past inspired goalkeeper Oliver Payne, who was outstanding throughout.

Great Britain striker Sam Ward said: “Coming back from the loss we had the other night – it was pretty tough to lose 5-1 to the Germans – we managed to put a performance in and do ourselves proud.”

Netherlands captain Billy Bakker said: “For the first three quarters we were good, but it’s difficult to keep up that level for four quarters. In the fourth quarter GB (Great Britain) also played very well – they also have quality – and we weren’t focused enough on our defensive positions. We lost the ball a lot and they benefited from that – we needed to keep the ball better. But we’re satisfied.”

Match information and statistics can be found on Olympics.com by clicking here.

 

Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – Hockey competitions

29 July 2021 – Day 6

Results
Men’s Pool A
India 3-1 Argentina

Men’s Pool B
Belgium 9-1 Canada
South Africa 4-3 Germany
Netherlands 2-2 Great Britain

Women’s Pool A
Great Britain 0-1 Netherlands

Women’s Pool B
Spain 2-0 China

Japan 1-2 Argentina
New Zealand 0-1 Australia

Progression
The quarter-finals, in both the men’s and women’s competitions, will be as follows although the matches will not necessarily be played in this order:

1st Pool A v 4th Pool B – Match 1
2nd Pool B v 3rd Pool A – Match 2
2nd Pool A v 3rd Pool B – Match 3
1st Pool B v 4th Pool A – Match 4

The winners of these matches will play for 1st to 4th places. The semi-finals will be as follows although the matches will not necessarily be played in this order:

Winner Match 1 v Winner Match 2
Winner Match 3 v Winner Match 4

The winners of these matches will play for 1st and 2nd places (gold and silver medals) and the losers will play for 3rd and 4th places (bronze medal)

 

Pool standings overviews
Men: click here.

Women: click here.

 

On Friday (30 July), the pool phase of the men’s competition will come to an end, with the line-ups for the quarter-finals being finalized. All twelve competing men’s nations will be in action. There will also be two matches from Women’s Pool A, with South Africa playing Germany and Ireland taking on India.

The hockey competitions at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 take place from Saturday 24 July to Friday 6 August 2021. Both the men’s and women’s competitions feature 12 teams, split into two pools of six ahead of quarter-finals, semi-finals and medal matches. For more information about the hockey competitions at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020, visit https://olympics.com/tokyo-2020/olympic-games/en/results/hockey/olympic-schedule-and-results.htm.

 

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