Gold Medal Match
Both Argentina and Belgium have the opportunity to do something special for their countries.
Belgium has not won a medal since the 1920 Games when the team won bronze. They are already assured their best Olympic performance in 96 years, but they have their eyes on gold.
Argentina will be looking for the country’s first gold medal in men’s field hockey.
Los Leones have had a pretty wild ride to get to the gold medal match. After winning a thriller against Spain in the quarterfinals, they went on to play its most dominant game yet against Germany, who was looking for its third consecutive gold medal.
Gonzalo Peillat, Argentina’s drag flick expert, led his team to a 5-2 victory with a hat trick. The team had previously tied Germany 4-4 in pool play.
Belgium has had quite the dominant journey. The team is playing its best hockey ever, and only had one hiccup when it lost to New Zealand after already qualifying for the quarterfinal.
Belgium’s true test in the tournament may come in this match against this energized Argentina team. The key to stopping Argentina’s momentum is to limit the chances Peillat gets at shooting. He has been the secret weapon for Argentina, and Belgium will have to force them to rely on its other offensive producers.
For Belgium, they will have to continue playing the style of hockey they are used to. Even with limited production from Tanguy Cosyns, they have had balanced efforts in scoring throughout the whole tournament, and particularly ran the field against the Netherlands in the semifinal round to increase its chances at getting open shots.
This is where it matters most for these two teams, and they will be looking to etch their names into eternal Olympic history.
Bronze Medal Match
This bronze medal match in Rio between the Netherlands and Germany will be a rematch of London’s gold medal match.
After disappointing finishes in the semifinals, they now have one more chance to secure a spot on the podium to claim the bronze medal.
Germany has had its share of highs and lows this tournament. After winning in dramatic fashion against New Zealand in the last second, they hit defeat at the hands of Argentina. The team failed to get the chance to defend its two-time gold medal status, and they will at least hope to medal this time around in Rio.
The Netherlands could only score one goal and had to rely on the steady production of Mink Van der Weerden. However, in the game against Belgium, all of its other weapons were nowhere to be found.
Billy Bakker had been a key contributor in the quarterfinal round, but his play did not shine through against Belgium. The team will look for him to rise up again versus Germany, an old foe who they surely would like to beat out for bronze.