Day 11 (Evening): The men’s Hockey gold medal match at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be contested between the two highest ranked teams in the world, with Australia set to face Belgium in a dream title match here at the magnificent Oi Hockey Stadium.
Goals from Tim Brand, Blake Govers and a late tap-in from Lachlan Sharp put the mighty Kookaburras into their first Olympic final since Athens 2004, when Jamie Dwyer famously scored a dramatic golden goal to win Australia’s only Olympic gold medal in men’s hockey, something they will be determined to change here in Tokyo.
Australia’s opponents in the gold medal match – which takes place on Thursday 5 August at 19:00 Japan Standard Time (UTC/GMT+9) – will be reigning World and FIH Hockey Pro League champions Belgium, who defeated eight times Olympic gold medallists India 5-2 in a thrilling semi-final contest watched by International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Dr Thomas Bach. Red Lions defender Alexander Hendrickx scored his third hat-trick of the competition, taking his remarkable tournament tally to 14 in seven matches, just three goals short of the record 17 scored by Netherlands legend Ties Kruize at the Munich 1972 Games.
The bronze medal match between Germany and India will be played on Thursday 5 August at 10:30 JST. Germany will be aiming to match the third place finish they achieved at Rio 2016, with India looking for a first Olympic medal since Moscow 1980.
Many thought that it would be difficult for this evening’s semi-final to live up to the brilliance of the morning’s incredible encounter between Belgium and India. However, the clash between Australia and Germany was another sensational contest between two teams playing at the very top of their games.
Australia took the lead when Tim Brand showed lightning-quick reactions to volley Flynn Ogilvie’s right-field pass into the Germany net just seven minutes into the contest. Germany pulled level three minutes later, with Lukas Windfeder sending a low penalty corner drag-flick against the backboard for his sixth goal of the tournament.
The two teams went hard at each other throughout the second period, but it was Australia who put their noses in front again when Blake Govers netted his seventh goal at Tokyo 2020 with a typically fierce penalty corner drag-flick.
The Australian defence – marshalled by goalkeeper Andrew Charter and central defender Matt Dawson – were outstanding in the third and fourth periods, repelling numerous attacks as Germany threw everything they had at their opponents.
The result was eventually sealed in 59th minute when Tom Wickham broke through Germany’s last line of defence and supplied Lachlan Sharp, who tapped into an empty net after Die Honamas had replaced goalkeeper Alexander Stadler with an outfield player in a last-ditch attempt to turn the situation around.
“It was great to get the result … what a great occasion and a great moment”, said Australia captain Aran Zalewski, who made his 200th international appearance this evening, before commenting on when his team will start focussing on the gold medal match. “I think we’ll enjoy tonight’s win. We’ve still got 48 hours I think before the game. We’ll stay the course, do what we usually do – recover, de-brief tonight’s game and move on sometime tomorrow and start looking at Belgium really closely.”
Looking ahead to the Belgium match, Kookaburras head coach Colin Batch said: “The hockey fans are in for a real treat, aren’t they. The last time we met each other in a final was in the Pro League in 2019. This will be very different. Both teams have fought their way through some difficult matches to get to the final, and it is not easy these days as there are a lot of good teams around. They [Belgium] would have been pleased with their win this morning against India, so I think it will be a great game and two very good teams.”
Reflecting on his team’s defeat, Germany’s Mats Grambusch said: “We have to recognize that we are not dangerous enough in the opponent’s circle compared to Belgium and Australia. Australia has this quality of scoring goals with few chances. We are simply not making enough of the many opportunities and corners. In the end, what counts is what is on the scoreboard – it is of no use to you if you were superior. But we will also get out of this situation and get bronze on Thursday! ”
More information about the match can be found by clicking here.
Day 11 (Morning): A hat-trick from Alexander Hendrickx helped Belgium’s Red Lions claim a 5-2 triumph over India, with the reigning world and FIH Hockey Pro League champions downing the eight-times Olympic gold medallists in a thrilling semi-final contest.
Belgium’s opponent in the gold medal match will be revealed this evening, with Australia and Germany doing battle in the second semi-final.
With International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Dr Thomas Bach watching from the stands, Belgium and India produced a sensational contest that was far closer than the final score would suggest.
Despite the searing temperature on the field of play in this morning fixture, the quality and pace of the match between two undisputed heavyweights was there for all to see, with Belgium making a fine start thanks to a perfectly executed penalty corner drag-flick from Loick Luypaert just 70 seconds into the contest.
However, India hit back with two quickfire goals to take a 2-1 lead into the quarter time break, with Harmanpreet Singh rattling the backboard with a penalty corner before Mandeep produced a stunning backhand strike from open play.
Belgium restored parity when Alexander Hendrickx – who finished the game with a remarkable tally of 14 goals in seven matches – fired home an unstoppable penalty corner drag-flick, ensuring the Red Lions were level at half time in this thrilling contest.
While the score-line remained locked at 2-2 throughout the third quarter, Belgium were starting to dominate and would surely have been ahead were it not for some outstanding defending from India. However, they could not stop Hendrickx from determining the outcome of the match, with the defender slamming home a penalty corner before winning and converting a penalty stroke to put his side 4-2 ahead with seven minutes remaining.
India went for broke in the dying stages, replacing goalkeeper Sreejesh with an outfield player in a bid to outnumber the Belgian defence. However, the Red Lions held firm, with John-John Dohmen adding gloss on the victory when he passed into an open goal with just six seconds remaining.
India – who will now take part in the bronze medal match on Thursday morning – were superb throughout, but it was Belgium who sealed their place in the title match, where they will be aiming to go one step higher than the silver medal achieve at Rio 2016.
“It’s unbelievable”, said Belgium’s John-John Dohmen. “Olympic medal is always the best memories we can have and now we will enjoy for 15 minutes maybe and then recover really well for the final because the gold is the objective. So it’s not finished.”
Commenting on hat-trick hero Hendrickx, Dohmen said: “I love this guy, he’s amazing. Always nice with the teammates and always ready to work really hard for the team. And this tournament is his tournament, of course, and I’m really happy for him. It’s amazing.”
India captain Manpreet Singh said: “It is really hard for me right now because we came with a winning mindset, but unfortunately we didn’t win the match. In the second quarter we fell back, where they created good opportunities and got a PC. Now we need to focus on our next bronze-medal match and we need to work and we need to get the medal.”
Match information and statistics can be found on Olympics.com by clicking here.
Wednesday 4 August is women’s semi-finals day, which begins with a re-match of the gold medal game from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Reigning World, European and FIH Hockey Pro League champions the Netherlands will be heavy favourites against title holders Great Britain but, as we have already seen here in Tokyo, nothing can be predicted. The two sides go head-to-head at 10:30 JST, with the second semi-final – between Argentina and surprise package India – being scheduled for 19:00. Las Leonas are aiming to reach the Olympic final for a third time, having claimed silver at both the Sydney 2000 and London 2012 Olympic Games. India’s sensational 1-0 quarter-final triumph over Pool B winners Australia provides enough evidence that they should not be underestimated.
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 featured 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.
Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 – Hockey competitions
3 August 2021 – Day 11
Results – Men’s semi-finals
India 2-5 Belgium
Australia 3-1 Germany
All times Japan Standard Time (UTC/GMT+9)
Women’s semi-finals – 4 August 2021
10:30 – Netherlands v Great Britain
19:00 – Argentina v India
Men’s medal matches – 5 August 2021
10:30 – Bronze – Germany v India
19:00 – Gold – Australia v Belgium
Women’s medal matches – 6 August 2021
10:30 – Bronze
19:00 – Gold