Sat, Aug 11, 2012 - Page 18 News List

London 2012 Olympics: Netherlands, Germany to do battle for hockey gold

Reuters, LONDON

Mink van der Weerden of the Netherlands, second right, celebrates after scoring a goal against Britain in their men’s hockey semi-final at the Riverbank Arena in London on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

The Netherlands gave Britain’s men a hockey lesson with a 9-2 semi-final victory on Thursday to set up a final against Beijing champions Germany, who earlier beat world champions Australia 4-2 in an open match.

With Britain and the Dutch both determined to play attacking hockey, the hosts gave the world’s No. 3 team all the space they could have dreamed of to create chances and the Dutch duly delivered with great passing skills and inspired goals.

The Dutch were two goals up within 15 minutes, with Roderick Weusthof scoring once from a penalty corner and a second from a sweep after a botched corner.

Britain could have come back into the game when they pulled a goal back, but the floodgates then opened. Within four minutes, Mink van der Weerden scored his seventh tournament goal, making him the top scorer in London.

Billy Bakker finished off a move of four quick passes through the circle to give the Dutch a 4-1 halftime lead.

The second half saw the Dutch picking apart the British defense with fast passes and committed defending whenever a Briton was on the ball, as the hosts, knowing their only chance was to attack, became reckless in the back.

In the second half, veteran Teun de Nooijer set up Bakker for their fifth, Bob de Voogd hammered a ball towards goal that De Nooijer deflected in, Floris Evers made it 7-1 and Bakker completed his hat-trick with a spectacular shot from a sharp angle.

Weusthof also scored a hat-trick with a penalty corner in the 61st minute before Britain’s Robert Moore snuck one past the Dutch goalkeeper to complete the 9-2 final score.

“This has never happened to me before with the team. It was unbelievable. [It was] one big party,” Weusthof said.

The Dutch victory came at a price, with officials saying midfielder Klaas Vermeulen broke his collarbone following a collision with Britain’s Glenn Kirkham early in the match.

Van der Weerden was also hit on the foot by a ball and spent time on the sidelines with an ice pack on his foot, and it was not clear whether he would be up for the final.

The Dutch victory will give them confidence for their final against Germany, who beat world champions Australia in a dramatic, fast-paced and open match.

In a first half played at blistering pace, Australia went ahead after German ’keeper Max Weinhold failed to control a shot from Glenn Turner and Kieran Govers fired the rebound through his legs.

Germany leveled minutes later with a low penalty-corner flick by Moritz Fuerste and the 1-1 scoreline at halftime was a fair reflection of the action.

Germany seized control of the game with three goals in nine minutes from Matthias Witthaus, Timo Wess and Florian Fuchs to storm into the final.

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