Salem Radio Network News Saturday, September 18, 2021

Sports

Olympics-Hockey-Australia to face Germany in semis, Argentina, Netherlands out

By Daniel Leussink

TOKYO (Reuters) -Australia reached the semi-finals of the men’s hockey tournament after beating the Netherlands in a dramatic penalty shootout in sizzling conditions at the Tokyo Olympics, joining Germany who booked a quarter-final victory over Argentina.

A powerful performance by goalkeeper Andrew Charter, who kept a clean sheet in the shootouts – won 3-0 by Australia after the score was 2-2 at the end of regular playing time – helped the Kookaburras win the match.

“It’s bloody amazing,” said Charter. “To come out here and carry the burden for a bit, it’s good for my confidence and it’s good for the team defensively moving forward.”

The Australians had pulled ahead twice in the game, thanks to two goals by Tom Wickham, only to see the hard-fighting Dutch side equalise through goals by Mink van der Weerden and Jeroen Hertzberger.

Dutch goalie Pirmin Blaak recognised Charter’s role in the shootouts.

“Charter saved a few and it was hard to get pressure on the Aussies,” he said.

“I think if you miss three (penalty shots) and they score three, they deserve to win.”

The result meant the Dutch men’s squad won’t play the semi-finals of the Olympic hockey tournament for the first time since 1984.

GERMAN WIN

Australia will face Germany on Tuesday after the Germans secured an easy victory over Olympic champions Argentina.

Germany opened the score in the 19th minute when defender Lukas Windfeder shot a penalty corner low and hard at the left side of the goal, leaving Argentina goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi no chance to stop the ball.

Ten minutes into the second half, the German side added to their advantage after scoring through another penalty corner, which gave them little left to fear from the Argentineans.

“It’s hot weather and hot-minded Argentina and we just want to keep it cool and play our German style and I think we did exactly that,” said forward Christopher Ruhr.

The fourth quarter saw one goal from each side, including Windfeder’s second, leaving the final score at 3-1.

Officials doubled the usual two-minute breaks between quarters to allow players to cool down from the heat at the main pitch of the Oi Hockey Stadium, which was sprayed with water during the half-time break to keep play fast and smooth.

The win gave Germany revenge on Argentina after being knocked out by them in the semi-finals of the 2016 Rio Olympics, when the Germans had to settle for bronze.

(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Lincoln Feast, Shri Navaratnam and Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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