Friday, August 10, 2012

What they say...

Match Review

On whether it was the best atmosphere he has ever experienced: "Yes, you could say so. This has never happened to me before with the team. It was unbelievable. (It was) one big party. There was a lot of Dutch fans, but (many) as well from Great Britain. You couldn't hear each other in the match. It's unbelievable playing in this atmosphere. It's really nice."
On the importance of taking a 2-0 lead within 15 minutes: "It was really important because we know that Great Britain are capable to make goals out of corners or just hitting the ball into the D. They are really dangerous. Being 2-0 up in a short period was a great start. (It was) really important because then they had to come and they gave away much more space. For our game and team, that was really nice."
On playing in one of the biggest wins ever in Netherlands hockey: "This is a great thing. I was sitting on the bench with Teun de Nooijer and he said 'I have played a lot of semifinals, but it has never happened this big before, it is the first time ever, it is a part of history now'. It was unbelievable."
On the confidence they can take into the final against Germany: "I think we can have a lot of confidence from this game, but not just this game, even from the games before. I think we play our best games now for a few years so we have a lot of confidence. We have already beaten Germany before in the pool phase and we know we can do it because when we work like this and when we give each other the balls and believe in it, nobody can stop us."

Floris EVERS (NED) - captain 
On the match: "I am really proud of our team. We kept on playing even when we were 4-1, I told them 'You have to play hockey and play, play, play'. We have to just continue to play the game. They (GBR) played very well, but they lost the last penalty corner and we scored and it was our day."

On the final against Germany: "Tomorrow when we wake up we will plan our match with Germany. Germany plays a different game from Great Britain. It will be a tough game. You can't compare this one. Tonight I want to enjoy."

Jason LEE (GBR) - coach
 On the result: "We all very embarrased with the result, mostly the performance. Holland made the pitch very big for us so we had a lot of one-on-one battles and, in the end, we lost a lot of them. I think we were a little bit slack for a few of the goals, but when it got to 4-1 our intention was to try and get back and so we kept trying to attack and that opened us up and we got reckless far too early. At 3-1 and 4-1, we felt we still had a chance, but our game just got too sloppy."
On the team: "Seven years ago we were ranked 11th in the world. We had ambitions and we have acheived them (getting to 4th). I think I heard something like Holland have only missed one semifinal in over 30 years, so that's what we were up against. It's embarrassing to be on the wrong side of it (the result) tonight."
On what they will do to get the team ready for their bronze medal match (v Australia) on Saturday: "It's no easy challenge. We got the basics wrong tonight and that won't be easy to get back. The immediate reaction is to point fingers, but that's not going to help. Showing some fight is the closest we're going to get (to the medal), fight which we didn't show tonight."

On the result and performance: "We've come up against a very good side today and not turned up. In any international sport if you don't turn up from the start you're up against it. There's no doubt we believed we could contend with Holland today, but too many of us didn't turn up, and there was too much looking at each other and no one taking responsibility."
"I think we showed some naivety at times and they just rolled past us and seemed to want it more. When we've got four or five guys overloading us and tapping in at the back post then there's something seriously wrong. It's difficult so quickly after the game to put your finger on it, but I think it's just really bitterly disappointing.
"We've worked so hard to get to this position and get ourselves in the semifinal for it to turn out like that. You get what you deserve in sport and today we didn't deserve anything. We've got to try and pick ourselves up again, the expectation, the crowd and everything has been brilliant and we've let ourselves down. We need to look in the mirror and take a look at ourselves and prepare for a tough game against Australia on Saturday." 
On whether the team was nervous: "No definitely not. We actually started OK. I think, if anything, maybe we underestimated the occasion and Holland. We've had some good results against them recently and they've clearly been playing some good hockey, but there's not seven goals between us and them and that's what's so disappointing. I think we can all accept losing to better sides on the day, but to lose like that is what makes it just so bitterly disappointing."

Dutch rule Brits 9 to 2

The Netherlands handed Great Britain one of the most painful defeats in recent memory, as they were thoroughly out-gunned in front of their home support. It was a breath-taking display as the interplay of Roderick Weusthof, Teun de Nooijer, Valentin Verga and Floris Evers was too hot to handle.
Billy Bakker and Weusthof were the chief profiteers, claiming a hat-trick each, while they also ran up four penalty corners from their five attempts. It was the biggest Olympic semi-final victory since India beat France 10-0 in 1936 and equalled GB’s biggest ever margin of defeat in the Olympic Games. It took little time to get into the action with Bakker and Kemperman firing pot shots inside the first three minutes.
Klaas Vermeulen was carried off with a nasty looking shoulder injury soon after before the Dutch hit the front in the seventh minute. Kemperman found a foot just ahead of de Nooijer who looked certain to score but Weusthof duly potted the corner. He got his and the Netherlands’ second from an off-kilter corner which was not stopped cleanly but was worked back to the striker who was unmarked and he slammed home off James Fair’s instep.
Ashley Jackson’s brilliant low drag-flick roused the crowd in the 19th minute and Barry Middleton’s touch to Matt Daly’s ball shaved the bar. But it was brief respite as the Dutch had the two-goal margin restored by Mink van der Weerden’s seventh goal in six games, another corner. And the fourth was hammer blow just before half-time. It was an intricate beauty of a goal as Verga took a free quickly on half-way and, via close-range passes in the circle between Weusthof and Rogier Hofman, Bakker walked in the ball.
Britain enjoyed their best spell just after the break, having two corners charged down by Hofman, Daly thrashed an effort wide and James Tindall was set clear. His composure was off, though, and could only find a Dutch stick. By contrast, the orange-shirts were calmness personified as Weusthof and de Nooijer waltzed down the baseline to lay up another Bakker goal that well and truly killed off the tie in the 45th minute, 5-1.
Bob de Voogd’s drive through Fair was tipped in by de Nooijer, Floris Evers got in on the act a minute later. Bakker bashed another in with 19 minutes to go and Weusthof’s third closed off their scoring before Rob Moore pulled one back with a nice tip-in to Glen Kirkham’s cross.
Paul van Ass was left with two major worries though as Vermuelen looks to have broken his collar bone while van der Weerden was taken to hospital for a scan on a foot injury. The Dutch will play Germany in the final while Great Britain will meet Australia for bronze.

(Stephen Findlater)

Men's Semi-finals: Germany 4 Australia 2

Australia vs Germany 2-4 (half-time: 1-1)

Germany produced a scintillating second half display to fully merit their Olympic men's final berth, finding their most fluid hockey of the tournament to gain a modicum of revenge on Australia. Trailing 2-1 after 43 minutes, Germany bossed Australia in a manner unseen in the tournament to date with Matthias Witthaus, Timo Wess and Florian Fuchs picking off a trio of delightfully crafted goals.
Pre-match, the European side came in with plenty of scores to settle, chief among them the 2010 World Cup final defeat and they appeared to initially cope well with the Aussies’ forceful, high press. Christopher Zeller looked in the mood. His powerful run left Joel Carroll in his wake while Kieran Govers and Matthew Swann also attempt to stall his run.
It sent the striker sprawling with a corner initially given before the video review confirmed the foul took place outside the circle. But he was the first to have a drag at goal as friendly fire clattered Matthew Butturini’s foot. Nathan Burgers stopped it well, clipping it away from the in-rushing Matthias Witthaus. The kookaburras hit the front, however, in the 22nd minute off the back of Glenn Turner’s brilliant incision. His thumping shot bounced up off Weinhold but Hamish Jamson held his whistle well and Govers walloped the ball through the German goalkeeper’s legs as he scrambled to try and block.
Sweet Eddie Ockenden and Jamie Dwyer touches almost yielded a second but Weinhold saved from Chris Ciriello – playing his 100thinternational – as well as from Govers from corners. Sandwiched between those efforts was the equaliser, Moritz Furste nailing a low corner bullet in the 26th minute, a goal that ensured parity at the half-time break. It was a pulsating battle, played at an incredible tempo throughout and this manner continued into the second half.
Glenn Turner restored the lead in the 43rd minute as a right-wing cross got hammed in Weinhold’s pads, Turner fished it out for Ockenden to slap back into the mix and the striker duly gobbled up his fourth of the campaign. The response, though, was immaculate. Oskar Deecke was denied one of the goals of the tournament by mere centimetres on a video referral when Oskar Deecke’s lob was controlled at waist-high and popped up and over Nathan Burgers’ shoulder without hitting the deck. His third touch was the one that denied the breath-taking moment, connecting just over shoulder height.
His side were level when Matthias Witthaus swept home from the right as Tobias Hauke’s pint-point pass in the 54th minute, rewarding a period of encampment in Aussie territory. And when a video referral worked in their favour to win a corner four minutes later, Timo Wess pushed home his first goal of the tournament off the back of Zeller’s spin-switch.
Then, the crowing glory. Australia, behind in a game for the first time in the tournament, pressed for an equaliser but could only find a brick wall of defenders. Hauke dispossessed them on his own penalty spot, starting a 90 metre move that set Benjamin Wess free on the left. Florian Fuchs hared forward the length of the pitch to slide onto his cross and win it with seven minutes to go.
(Stephen Findlater)

Pakistan claim seventh spot

Pakistan vs. Korea: 3-2 (half-time: 1-2)

In Sohail Abbas’ 350th international match, Pakistan found their form in the second half ending their London campaign with a narrow victory over continental rivals Korea. 
A Muhammad Imran penalty corner launch with nine minutes to play gave Pakistan their first and only scoreline advantage of the match.
The first half yielded circle penetrations for both teams, Shafqat Rasool found himself on the receiving end of a liberating pass from Muhammad Rizwan Sr, but he seemed to close his own angle to goal allowing Myung Ho Lee to block with ease.
Korea attacking from both endlines with Sung Hoon Yoon and Nam Yong Lee faced a blockade of green shirts that brought on a series of crosses that were only slightly more effective. 
With five to play in the half, an attack through the middle found Hye Sung Hyun open for an easy touch at the right post giving Korea short lived lead.  Muhammad Waqas replied emphatically within a minute with a resounding strike.  Korea would not be denied their half time advantage as another Hyun tally at the end of a scramble survived a Pakistan team referral.
Pakistan held the advantage in the second half, Abdul Haseem Khan finding his own rebound off of Lee and calmly lifted the equalizer over the prone keeper.  Korea pressed forward but was unable to find space in the crowded attacking quarter.
Imran’s winner came just after a similar drag flick from Sohail Abbas temporarily injured Lee in the Korean goal and perhaps limited his mobility on the decisive strike.
Pakistan leaves London with a seventh place finish and the consolation of being the highest ranked Asian team in the competition.
(Hari Kant)

Argentina vs. New Zealand: 1-3 (half-time: 0-3)

A methodical performance by the Black Sticks highlighted by strong midfield and sharp finishing provided a comfortable ninth place finish over a slow starting Argentinian team. 
While Argentina briefly controlled the opening minutes an errant free hit by Manuel Brunet was delivered into the circle by Simon Child for the awaiting Stephen Jenness to deflect past Jan Manuel Vivaldi for the first tally.
Matias Parades on the receiving end of a skillful give and go had his reverse bat find the side mesh, to cap a sequence of Argentina efforts that were a step short.
New Zealand extended twice, first with an immense corner flick by Richard Petherick and then quick reverse blast by Nicholas Wilson.  Argentina finished the half with nine players having both Lucas Rossi and Matias Vila serving suspensions, personifying the overall team frustration.
Argentina was eager to start the second half but their chances were either lacking or rebuked.  Kyle Pontifex stretching to make a penalty corner save on Peillat and then inducing the same to flick over the bar on his subsequent effort. 
With eleven to play Pedro Ibarra solved the puzzle with a low PC drag, however the Argentine ascendency was initiated too late.  New Zealand confidently absorbed the late charge to finish their campaign with a victory.
(Hari Kant)