The Netherlands’ men’s team joined their women’s counterparts as semi-finalists in the Olympic hockey tournament on Sunday by beating Germany 3-1 in their fourth pool match at the Riverside Arena.
A draw between the great European rivals would have seen both teams through to the last four, but Germany will now have to get a point from their fifth and last pool match on Tuesday. Germany made a great start against the Dutch.
Christopher Zeller converted a penalty corner inside three minutes, but Bob de Voogd popped in a rebound in the 14th minute and the teams turned round level at 1-1.
The second half started as dramatically as the first half with stalwart Teun de Nooijer setting up and scoring in the first minute.
De Nooijer was making his 450th appearance for the Dutch, a world record while his goal was his 218th.
When Mink van der Weerden found a top corner of the German goal with a corner flick in the 41st minute, the Dutch could concentrate on maintaining their two-goal advantage.
The Dutch men, who lost to Germany on penalties in the 2008 Beijing semi-finals, have qualified for the semi-finals in every Olympics since the 1984 Los Angeles Games.
Germany would have reached the last four if South Korea had failed to beat India. As it was the Koreans were much superior to the Indians at finishing and won 4-1. They now have six points and are three points behind second-placed Germany. South Korea has yet to play Netherlands.
Nam Hyun-woo converted two late penalty corners for the South Koreans against the eight-time champions.
India’s defeat left them bottom of Group B without a point and they are now condemned to the 12th place match, a far cry from their halcyon days.
Pakistan stepped back into contention for a semi-final place in Group A with a nail-biting 5-4 win over South Africa.
It took Pakistan’s points tally to seven from their four matches. Australia, the World Cup holders, let a 3-0 lead slip against hosts Great Britain and were held to a 3-3 draw in the top of the table match.
The result means the two have eight points, one more than Pakistan, after each has played four of their five group games.
Australia made a whirlwind start with two goals by Russell Ford in the first 11 minutes. Mark Knowles, given too much room, increased Australia’s lead six minutes into the second half. Six minutes later Jonty Clarke’s center was deflected into goal for the first of Britain’s goals.
Britain’s captain Barry Middlet scored the second from a corner variation and James Tindall deflected in four minutes before the final hooter.
Australia play Pakistan in their final pool match today, while Britain take on Spain.
Spain, the Beijing Olympic silver medalists, kept alive their hopes of making the medal stand again with a 3-1 win over Argentina in the late game. Their second successive win took them to seven points, a point behind Australia and Britain and below third-placed Pakistan on goal difference.