[img_assist|nid=5151|title=450 games and a goal|desc=Teun de Nooijer – hockeyimages.co.uk|link=node|align=left|width=220|height=135]LONDON, August 5 – The Netherlands completed a double with their men’s hockey side joining their women’s as the first teams to qualify for the semi-finals of the Olympic Games.
The Dutch overcame reigning Olympic champions Germany with an impressive 3-1 win. Germany may need a point against New Zealand on Tuesday (9.15pm) to qualify for the semi-finals, depending on the result of the earlier Korea vs Netherlands game (8.30am).
Among the Netherlands scorers was Teun de Nooijer in his 450th game for Holland. Mink van der Weerden also added his fourth corner goal of the Games (he also has one stroke).
Germany and Korea are the two other semi-final contenders from pool B. But Germany’s fate is in their hands they lead Korea by three points so a point against New Zealand (on Tuesday at 9.15pm) will do.
New Zealand and Belgium managed to rule themselves out of even a slim chance for the semi-finals from pool B by producing a 1-1 all draw. Belgium produced a hatful of chances but were repeatedly denied by keeper Kyle Pontifex before Tom Boon produced a neat lifted finish in close in the 48th minute.
Nick Wilson netted an equaliser completely against the run of play with a left baseline run and deft stuff under a smothering Vincent Vanasch.That 54th-minute goal sparked a New Zealand rally. Belgium however, continued to impress with intelligent defence and considerable skill.
[img_assist|nid=5098|title=Delta force|desc=Lloyd ‘Chuck’ Norris-Jones played his part for South Africa but they lost 5-4 to Pakistan – hockeyimages.co.uk|link=node|align=right|width=220|height=146]Pakistan kept their semi-final hopes alive with a see-sawing 5-4 win over South Africa. Skipper Sohail Abbbas (PC,64 mins) and 365-game veteran Waseem Ahmad (FG, 67 mins) scored late to secure the win. Pakistan play Australia at 10.45am on Tuesday.
India crashed to their fourth straight defeat in London. This time Korea were their tormentors, 4-1. Coach Michael Nobbs awas hightly critical of his senior players for not perfoming in London. “Playing in the Olympic Games is a privilege,” he said. “Not a right.”
[img_assist|nid=5105|title=Stalwart|desc=Sardara Singh was one of India’s better players as they crashed to a fouth defeat in a row – hockeyimages.co.uk|link=node|align=left|width=220|height=146]Great Britain and Australia’s 3-3 draw and Spain’s 3-1 win over Argentina has opened up several possibilites for the semi-fianls from pool A.
Australia lead on goal difference from Great Britain while Pakistan and Spain are on seven. All are in semi-final contention when the final round of pool games start on Tuesday. Korea play Netherlands on Tuesday at 8.30am. A 1-0 win will put Korea ahead of Germany in second place (on goal differnece) before Germany’s final pool game vs New Zealand in the evening.
Australia can nail down a semi-final place if they defeat Pakistan (10.45am). GB play Spain at 7pm – the winner will be in the semi-finals.