Argentinian Nicolas Keenan’s smash-shot against host nation Japan in the pool phase of the Tokyo Olympics has been voted best goal of 2021 in a fans’ poll.
Keenan produced three quick-flash touches, lifting the ball over a defender’s stick at the top of the circle before changing the angle in mid-air and crashing a vicious overhead strike against the backboard of the Japanese goal.
The top honours in the FIH Best of 2021 fan vote also went the way of Argentina, with the men’s team taking the best goal prize and the women the award for best match, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) revealed on Friday.
Argentina’s 3-0 quarter-final triumph over Germany generated the most votes for the best match award.
Germany’s second place finish behind the Netherlands in Pool A saw them come into the match against Las Leonas, who finished third in Pool B, as marginal favourites.
However, the giants of Pan American hockey produced a dominant display against Die Danas, with the deadlock being broken in the 27th minute by Agustina Albertarrio, a goal voted by the fans as the second best of 2021.
A Victoria Granatto penalty corner doubled Argentina’s advantage just before half time, with the result being put beyond all doubt by teenager and FIH Rising Star of the Year 2021 nominee Valentina Raposo, who fired home a fine penalty corner strike to send the eventual silver medallists into the semi-finals.
Best Goal of 2021
1st Place: Nicolas Keenan (ARG). Argentina Men v Japan (Pool phase) – Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
2nd Place: Agustina Albertarrio (ARG). Argentina Women v Germany (Quarter-Final) – Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
3rd Place: Dayaan Cassiem (RSA). South Africa Men v Belgium (Pool phase) – Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Best Match of 2021
1st Place: Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Women’s Quarter-Final – Germany 0-3 Argentina
2nd Place: Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Men’s Pool B – South Africa 4-3 Germany
3rd Place: Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Men’s Bronze Medal – Germany 4-5 India
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