The men’s team of Argentina was the surprise package of Olympic Hockey event; winning their first ever gold medal while the Great Britain women’s team also made their presence felt. The gold medal performance by Argentina will boost men’s hockey in whole South American subcontinent. Argentina came off as a spirited team and showed how to defeat higher ranked opponents with good hockey skills.
In their opening fixture itself when they held Netherlands to 3-3 draw, they made it clear that they were going to deliver some magic work on the ground. Further they defeated Spain in the quarters and Germany in semis to confirm that Argentina was capable of doing wonder in the finals. The day of grand finale was for Argentina as they won the gold medal by defeating Belgium by 4-2.
On the other hand Belgium advanced to the final by overturning an 80-year-old unbeaten record of the Netherlands against Belgium. The Belgian team overcame the dominance of Netherlands, in their matches at any major tournament, and won by 3-1 to enter their first ever Olympic finals. Belgium’s 29 goals was the highest number of goals by any team in the tournament. Belgium scored more field goal in the age of penalty corners.
In the first semi-final, Argentina scored 5 goals literally humiliating defending champion Germany. It was last minutes goals by Germany which saved their nose with a score of 5-2. Germany managed to regroup their team win the bronze medal against Dutch team who are the second best men’s hockey team in the world currently. Germany held their nerves to win the bronze medal in penalty shoot-out. Germany gave their men’s hockey brand ambassador Moritz Furste and Tobias Hauke’s a farewell by winning bronze.
Disregarding their no. 11 rank was the Spanish team which finished 5th due to their higher goal difference though they were the last ones to qualify for men’s hockey event in Olympics. They were leading the group stages when they shocked Australia with a narrow 1-0 victory, managed to win against Kiwis in dying second and only lost to Belgium in the group stages.
The biggest upset of the men’s hockey tournament was the failure of Britain as they couldn’t do any justice to their world rank of 4. Unlike their female compatriots, men’s team couldn’t even qualify for the knockout stage. In a must win encounter with Spain they only managed to draw the match. The British team looked weak, without any plan B and they need to regroup- restrategise before any upcoming tournament.
It was the world no. 1 team Australia who were tournament favorite but they were not able to recover from their opening losses against Spain and Belgium. The hockey legend Jamie Dwyer bowed out of international hockey sadly as the team wasn’t able to finish on podium. He was the oldest player in the tournament at 38 years.
It was close and tough fight for Indian men’s hockey team. In their group stage, they beat Argentina and also scored first goal against the Belgium. The quarterfinal loss to Belgium was heart breaking for India. In the final men’s standing India managed to finished 8th in overall ranking.