Germany embraces hockey to the tune of two men’s gold medals and two bronze finishes in the past four Olympics.
Meanwhile rugby-mad South Africa have never come close to an Olympic podium.
So when David met Goliath in Tokyo on Thursday, there were gasps as South Africa scored two second-half goals to overcome a 3-2 deficit against Germany.
Forget the qualifying scenario for a second, Germany coach Kais Al Saadi lauded their opponents as they were rewarded with a world top 10 place in the FIH rankings.
“That’s a really, really hard team to control with all of those fast strikers,” said Al Saadi, who from 2009-12 was assistant coach to the German women’s side, the 2004 Athens gold medallists.
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