This was a day in Tokyo of Rio quarter-final atonement for two of the world’s best teams. For Australia, a three-year shoot-out wait was also put in place after honing practice and precision in Perth.
As Germany took revenge on Argentina, so Australia stood their ground in Tokyo’s increasingly hot cauldron, where temperatures were nudging 40C, to prevail against Holland and seal a semi-final ticket.
A 2-2 normal time draw at the Tokyo Olympics left the Kookaburras, no doubt marking their cards during last month’s EuroHockey Championships, to score all three in the shoot-out as the Dutch failed to convert. In Max Caldas’ last game in charge of a Dutch team, the men’s side ultimately failed to reach an Olympics semi-final for the first time since Los Angeles 1984.
“In six games we have won twice. In all facets, statistics and also simply in terms of points, we just didn’t play well enough. That is unfortunately the hard truth,” Hertzberger told Dutch TV afterwards.
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