The men’s hockey competition is reaching an exciting conclusion as we go into the final week, with the main players all still standing. The Dutch have a strong squad, and proved that they have what it takes to go all the way by beating Germany 3-1 to qualify for the semi-finals from Group B. Prolific striker Teun de Nooijer came on soon after the start of the second half to give the Dutch the lead with his 218th goal in 450 appearances. At the age of 36, this is very likely to be his swansong, and with him as a lucky talisman, he and the Netherlands cannot be ruled out of a gold medal tilt.
Germany came into the tournament with high hopes, but that defeat leaves them needing a point against New Zealand to reach the last four. Australia are the hot favourites for the gold medal, but they were left stunned as Great Britain came back from 3-0 down to level things and join them at the top of Group A.
With that confidence-boosting result behind them, Team GB can harbour hopes of a medal of some sort, although Spain came from behind to produce the goods over Argentina in their fourth Group game, so nothing is cut and dried yet, especially as Pakistan got the better of doomed South Africa in a nine-goal thriller to throw their hat into the ring. One thing is certain, India are a shadow of the team they used to be, with not a single point gained in Group B.
All in all, the gold medal is still very much up for grabs, and it will not be for lack of effort if Great Britain fails to go all the way.
Meanwhile in the women’s section, the Netherlands are also very much the ones to beat, but New Zealand have reached the semi-finals for the first time by knocking out Germany in Group B and Great Britain sealed their place in the last four when China lost to Japan on Monday.
World champions Argentina fought out a goalless draw against the three-time Olympic gold medallists Australia late on Monday to keep their hopes very much alive in Group B, and will not go down lightly to anyone.
The Dutch football side let their supporters down in the European Football Championships, but that will all be forgotten if the nation’s two international hockey sides can do the Olympic double.On what we have seen so far at London 2012, that is a distinct possibility.
Olympic Hockey Odds
This event is still very much up for grabs and Team GB are still in contention for Gold Medal glory but in order to progress have to beat Spain who are 15/8 to win that match whilst Ladbrokes has Team GB at evens to win. Other games to be played are India V Belgium with Ladbrokes favouring Belgium with odds of 11/10 although India could be a good bet at 7/4, New Zealand could also be a good bet to beat Germany at 7/1.
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