Belgium Triumphs Over Favorites
Belgium pulled off the upset win over gold medal favorite Australia, topping them 1-0.
Australia came into the game down a player after Aran Zalewski received a one-game suspension after accidentally hitting a Spain player in the head with his stick.
However, both teams brought the pressure and hit the ground with intensity in the first quarter despite ending it scoreless.
Shortly into the second quarter, Belgium scored as a result of magnificent ball movement. Arthur Van Doren passed the ball into the circle for a teammate who knocked the ball backwards between his legs right into the stick of Tanguy Cosyns.
Australia’s drag flick expert Chris Ciriello could not get off the shots he wanted in Australia’s penalty corner attempts and the half ended with Belgium up 1-0.
This remained an unfortunate theme for Australia. The team had more penalty corner opportunities in the second half, but nothing they tried worked to break down the Belgium defense led by goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch.
Belgium played tactfully in the fourth quarter, looking to run time off the clock when they could and play the ball on the outside of the field.
In the Pool A standings, Belgium reclaims the top spot over Spain, and Australia ends the night in a shocking fourth place spot.
Great Britain Racks Up Nine Goals
Great Britain had a night against Brazil, scoring every which way in the 9-1 rout of the host country.
Team captain Barry Middleton and teammate Ashley Jackson each had two goals in the win.
Brazil opened up the game on a historic note, scoring its first-ever Olympic goal. Stephane Smith received a pass after the insert on a penalty corner and fired it right above Team GB’s goalkeeper.
Great Britain would go on to score three unanswered goals to take a 3-1 lead at halftime.
They continued to relentlessly pressure Brazil and challenge goalkeeper Rodrigo Faustino. Team GB dominated the clock on offense and had significantly more shot advantages than Brazil.
Great Britain scored five goals in the fourth quarter alone. The team removed its goalkeeper in favor of an extra man on the field with minutes remaining in the fourth, but Brazil could not capitalize on the opportunity.
The Dutch Shut Out Canada
The Netherlands looked every bit like the No. 2 team in the world in its 7-0 shutout win over Canada.
The team found its success on penalty corners. Mink Van der Weerden led the team with a hat trick, upping his tally to six overall in the Olympics so far. Jeroen Hertzberger also added two goals for the Dutch.
Seve Van Ass began all scoring for the Netherlands in the first quarter. From there the team never looked back.
Canada couldn’t seize momentum at any point in the match, but still played hard and pressured the Dutch. The Netherlands kept its composure while breaking the press, and found success in its unselfish play in the circle.
Robbert Kemperman had one of the most exciting scores of the game after making an extraordinary dive into the circle to tip his teammate’s pass into the cage.
The Dutch now storm back into second place in Pool B standings one point ahead of India.
Germany Still Dominant
Germany continues on its path to a gold medal three-peat by holding off a comeback from Ireland and winning the match 3-2.
The Germans had a big game from team captain Moritz Furste who executed two penalty corner plays to perfection. He pushed the ball past Ireland’s David Harte for two scores.
Ireland tied the game at 1-1 going into halftime after an emphatic goal from Eugene Magee that brought his teammates and fans to their feet in celebration.
Germany began to run away with the lead in the third quarter when Martin Zwicker swooped into the circle out of nowhere to score the team’s third goal off of a deflected ball.
The Green Machine, however, were not done just yet. They got a goal from Michael Darling with just over a minute left to play. They entered desperation mode and pressed the Germans, which got them the ball. After a final heave toward the goal, a call stopped play but left the clock running, not giving the Irish a chance for one last attempt.
Germany walked away with an unscathed record and nine points in its column.
India Back on the Rise
India just moved to second place in Pool B with a tight 2-1 victory over Argentina.
Before the first quarter’s end, Chinglensana Kangujam put India on the board for the early lead. Adding to that was Kothajit Khadangbam, which put India at a comfortable 2-0 lead for most of the game.
Argentina attempted a comeback in the fourth quarter starting with a made penalty corner shot. Gonzalo Peillat fueled the fire for this team, but they couldn’t manage to keep the momentum going after that.
India is most known for its dominance in the sport back in the early 1900s, but this team is looking to make its mark on Olympic history again as they climb the standings one game at a time.
Spain Stays Red-Hot Against New Zealand
Spain is unstoppable.
The No. 11 world-ranked team is now undefeated in pool play after a dramatic 3-2 win over New Zealand.
Xavi Lleonart proved to be Spain’s hero down the stretch. With 26.6 seconds left on the clock, he knocked in a shot from in front of the cage that gave his team the late lead. All they had to do was defend, and just like that they left Deodoro at the top of Pool A’s standings.
Despite not capitalizing on any penalty corner opportunities, Spain created other ways to score inside the circle. Within a minute of play, Roc Oliva challenged New Zealand with Spain’s first goal. Alex Casasayas tacked on the second.
New Zealand team captain Simon Child did everyting he could to try to get the Black Sticks back in it and ahead. Child scored both goals for his team, and each came as an answer to a Spain score.
With this victory, Spain surpasses Belgium for first place in the standings for now. If Belgium loses to Australia tonight, Spain will keep its seat at the top.
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