Germany won their second successive men’s hockey gold on Saturday by beating the Netherlands 2-1, courtesy of midfielder Jan Philipp Rabente’s first goals of the tournament.
Germany’s victory in a fast, attacking, hard-fought match spoiled a Dutch bid for a double after their women triumphed on Friday.
Rabente had only scored six goals in his 77 matches for Germany before Saturday. Together with captain and defense chief Maximilian Mueller, that was the lowest tally in the squad.
After a strong first group match, Rabente had played a more defensive role in Germany’s midfield, completing his tournament without attracting much attention.
Rabente opened the scoring with a brilliant individual effort just two minutes before halftime, allowing Germany to take a psychologically important lead into the break.
He rode two challenges inside the Dutch circle and as he lost his balance, flicked the ball past the outstretched Dutch keeper Jaap Stockmann into the net.
Mink van der Weerden, the tournament’s top scorer, got the Dutch back into the match in the second half with a penalty corner drag flick for his eighth goal at the London Games.
However, after a tense second half, Rabente scored again with five minutes remaining. His first attempt saved, he danced around the back of the goal, appealing for a corner, but re-emerged at the far post to tap in when the ball was passed back to him.
The Netherlands had beaten archrivals Germany 3-1 in the group stages and had been unbeaten through the group phase before they thrashed Britain 9-2 in the semi-final.
Germany’s coach Markus Weise — already the only coach to have won gold with a men’s and women’s team — has now coached teams to gold in three consecutive Olympic hockey tournaments.
He led Germany’s women to gold in Athens in 2004 and coached the men when they won the title in Beijing four years ago.
“It was a super-final full of good hockey and full of fighting spirit from both sides. This was a grand fight by my team,” Weise said.
Earlier on Saturday, Australia, who had been touted as favorites for gold, beat Britain to take home bronze, their sixth consecutive Olympics at which they have won a medal.
“We were just as devastated as the Brits were after their semi-final and I’m very proud of our team of how we responded today. That’s a real test of character,” Australia’s Mark Knowles said. “You come to the Olympics, you want to win a medal, you want gold. If you don’t get to play for gold, this is the only one you can get.”