Day three is over and done with, but already there have been some unexpected twists and turns in this men’s field hockey tournament in Rio.
The biggest shock came on day two when gold medal favorite Australia dropped a big game to Spain. They sit at number three in the Pool A standings while Belgium rules from the number one slot with a substantially higher goal tally than everyone else. This is due to the 12-0 stampede over host-country Brazil.
Tuesday night features a showdown between these two teams. Australia will be hungry for the win, but Belgium’s prolific offense may prevent The Kookaburras from coming out on top.
As for Pool B, two-time defending gold medalist Germany sits atop the standings with two wins under its belt. The first came in blowout fashion over Canada, but the next needed the heroics of Christopher Ruhr to come out victorious in the final seconds. The Germans will look to continue their winning streak against a winless Ireland on Tuesday.
The team to keep a close eye on this tournament is Spain. They came to Rio ranked No. 11 in the world, yet are undefeated in pool play and are hovering right below Belgium in second place. The upset over Australia has been its claim to fame, but they also collected seven goals against Brazil, which could help later on if the standings are tied. They will play a struggling New Zealand, who has recorded a loss and a tie so far in the tournament, in the first game of the day.
Each team’s game three will be crucial toward determining whether they will still have a shot at advancing in the tournament or if their medal hopes are fading away.