Olympic round-up: Germany and Spain to contest final

Germany and Spain will meet in the men’s final of the 2008 Olympic hockey tournament following two marvellous semi-finals.

In the first semi-final, World Champions Germany defeated the Netherlands on penalty strokes, with tournament top scorer Taeke Taekema missing the vital effort. The match was full of tension, drama and hockey of the highest quality.

The Netherlands looked as though they had won it when Timme Hoyng gave his side a 1-0 lead four minutes from time, but Germany were level two minutes later defender Philipp Zeller grabbed an equaliser. Extra time finished goal-less, and Taekema’s sudden death penalty miss proved decisive.

The second semi started with a bang. Australia’s Des Abbott netted after 30 seconds before his side scored arguably the finest goal of the tournament. A seven pass move ripped open the Spain defence and eliminated the keeper only for Eddie Ockenden to tap into an open goal.

It looked all over for Spain, but two quick scores set the match alight, with an Eddie Tubau brace levelling the scores. With two minutes left to play, Santi Freixa completed the comeback when he slammed home a penalty corner to defeat the reigning Olympic champions. Spain now have the chance to avenge their pool match defeat to Germany in the best way possible – winning Olympic Gold.

Earlier in the day, New Zealand took seventh place with a 4-2 win over Pakistan, while Canada were beaten 3-0 by Belgium in the 9th/10th play-off match.

Partners of The Hook