It was big day for the Red Lions and all their supporters! The Belgian hockey men have been training very hard for this for five years and sacrificed everything for this.
Today, the Belgians wanted to write sports history for our country, by winning the gold medal at the Olympic Games (football won the last gold medal for a team sport in 1920). But to achieve this, Australia had to be beaten first.
The two best hockey countries against each other in the final, that should and would give fireworks!
The match started as always with high pressure from Belgium, which almost resulted in a goal after 2 minutes. First with a hard center from Kina who narrowly missed Dockier for the deviation, then with a backhand shot from Dockier.
The first danger for Australia came after 11 minutes, but the confused phase in front of Vanasch brought nothing. In the ensuing counter-attack, Kina had another chance to score, but his backhand shot was well blocked by goalkeeper Charter.
The Belgian danger became more concrete in the second quarter when after two minutes De Sloover decided to advance and Charlier found at the entrance of the circle. The shot from the Brussels native was well stopped by the Australian keeper. The Belgians recovered a lot of balls and a few minutes later the goalkeeper did it again on a beautiful shot by Kina.
In the 10 th minute of the second quarter, the first penalty corner came for the Lions, with Hendrickx on the field. But unfortunately his drag went just wide for the first time this tournament. Australia got away well, Belgium clearly had the upper hand, with more ball possession, more ball recovery and more shots on target. Only the scoreboard remained untouched.
But after the break we didn’t have to wait long for this. The ball had only been rolling for two minutes before Boccard advanced from the left, put in front of De Kerpel in the circle, who extended on Florent van Aubel. The ‘tuuveneir’ lifted the ball nicely and finished the chance cool-blooded with a tap. Belgium deservedly led 0-1.
But the Aussies were apparently annoyed as they began to claim the ball more and send attack after attack into our circle. In the ninth minute, Belgium got away well when Ogilvie deviated a ball against the post. Just after that came the first Australian PC, but Vincent ‘the wall’ Vanasch isn’t the best in goal: his stick save was world class.
With the last 15 minutes of these Games ahead of them, the Red Lions were leading 0-1. But it was the Kookaburras who showed the most threat in the final minutes, and after two minutes they had a prize.
Zalewski shot at goal, Van Doren hit the ball and his deviation was smashed into goal by Wickham. It was 1-1 and everything had to be redone.
The Belgians got a second PC a few minutes later, but this time Hendrickx tried a hard pass at the near post, where van Aubel just came up short to deviate in goal.
The Lions again tried to build up from the back and they succeeded quite nicely. Van Doren gave his team a good scare with a miss in the defense, fortunately without a problem.
The Belgians had already given a lot and seemed a bit tired, which resulted in too many misses.
The Australians continued to press, it was sink or swim with the Lions. But they held on, the final score remained at 1-1 and this Olympic final would therefore be settled with shoot-outs.
AUSTRALIA : X Govers (save Vanasch) – V Ogilvy – V Brand – X Simmonds (save Vanasch) – X Whetton (missed first but missed Vanasch and ‘retake’)
BELGIUM : V van Aubel – V De Sloover – X Denayer (rate) – V Wegnez (penalty ball Hendrickx)