At The Top, It's Only Belgium
Belgium remains as the only undefeated men’s team in pool play after topping Spain 3-1.
It has been a challenge to quell this red-hot Spain team, but Belgium came out cool and calm to immediately establish control of the game.
Cedric Charlier got things started and within the opening seconds of the second quarter, Emmanuel Stockbroekx increased the Belgium lead. Charlier added his second goal before the half’s end, and just like that Spain saw the game slipping away from them.
Spain finally saw its opportunity to score off of a penalty corner. Pau Quemada executed on a powerful shot that had Spain’s fans going wild in the stands.
Belgium stood unwavering, and never let Spain get any closer thanks to tremendous efforts from goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch.
This team has had an absolutely dominating run so far in this tournament, and will look to close out pool play as the No. 1 team in Pool A.
rmany avoided a major upset by tying Argentina 4-4 in the final seconds of play.
What looked like an Argentina victory suddenly changed with eight seconds left. The Germans received a penalty corner opportunity where they missed the initial shot off the insert. However, Mathias Muller was in the right place to find the rebound and knock the ball in for the draw.
The momentum shifted back and forth between Argentina and Germany throughout the game.
Argentina went up 1-0 early in the first quarter after Lucas Vila scored, but Germany was ready to take over.
With seconds left in the quarter, Timm Herzbruch maintained perfect position to tip a pass into the goal. The Germans then pushed the field and got it ahead to Christopher Wesley who slapped a shot past Argentina’s goalkeeper. Mats Grambusch added to the lead with an easy tap of the ball off of a rebounded shot.
Argentina relentlessly pursued the lead. A drag flick off a penalty corner from Pedro Ibarra got the team going, and Gonzalo Peillat tied it all up on another corner. Three minutes remained in the game, but it was plenty of time for Matias Rey to put Argentina up by one.
Muller had other plans, and instead thwarted any chance of an upset.
This is Germany’s first tie of the tournament, and they dropped a place in the standings to the Netherlands over goal differential. Argentina, however, stayed stagnant in fourth place.
Luck Had Nothing To Do With It
Ireland outlasted Canada 4-2 in its best game of the Olympic tournament, finally adding three points to its column in the standings.
Both teams were desperate for their first win win, and this one was about as evenly matched as it got.
Or so it seemed heading in.
Ireland came out playing its best half of hockey in the tournament. They entered halftime with a 3-0 lead over the Red Caribou after two goals from Shane O’Donoghue and one from Peter Caruth.
Canada came storming back in the third quarter with a goal from Scott Tupper. Tupper continued to lead the way with another goal coming from a penalty corner attempt.
What looked like a game that would go down to the wire was put away by Michael Darling with minutes remaining. Darling found a way to rip one past Canada’s goalkeeper who was out of position, and the Canada defense couldn’t get there in time to keep the ball out of the cage.
Ireland now bumps itself one place ahead of last while Canada still remains winless in Rio.
Five Just Wasn't Enough
The Netherlands gripped on to 2-1 victory despite India having five chances in a row to tie it up at the end of the game.
With six seconds remaining, India earned a penalty corner that just fell short of the goal. As they played through the time left on the clock, they received one more penalty corner chance to tie it up, which actually ended up turning into four opportunities.
India could not capitalize on any of these, despite doing so earlier in the game thanks to Raghunath Vokkaliga’s drag flick. The Dutch finally claimed victory, which for them meant for now claiming the top spot in the standings ahead of Germany.
Mink Van der Weerden continued his Olympic success by scoring the goal that put the Dutch ahead in the fourth quarter.
India is still very much in contention in Pool B coming in currently at the third spot.
For full results of Thursday's games, click here.