Argentina caused the biggest sensation in Olympics men’s hockey competition on Tuesday by ousting two-time defending champions Germany 5-2 in the semi-finals. Argentina are thus assured of winning their maiden Olympic hockey medal in 11 attempts. Their previous best was a 5th place in 1948, the year they made their Olympic debut in London.
Penalty corner expert Gonzalo Peillat struck a fine hat-trick by converting short corners in the 9th, 12th and 28th minute as the shell-shocked Germans, winners in 2008 and 2012, slumped to a 0-3 deficit by the half-time.
Forwards Joaquin Menini (36th minute) and Lucas Vila (47th min) scored two field goals to complete the tally for Argentina, bronze medal winner at the last World Cup in 2014. Moritz Furste converted a penalty stroke in the 51st minute and Christopher Ruhr scored in the 58th minute for Germany but it was too late and too little for the World No 3 team.
The result is a huge setback for Germany and especially coach Valentin Altenburg, who has been rebuilding the squad since taking over late last year after long-time coach Markus Weise suddenly left his post to take over as head of the academy of the German football association.
Tuesday’s result comes as a bolt from the blue for Germany and hockey fans alike as the Die Honamas had topped Pool B with 13 points while Argentina finished third with eight points. In the preliminary round, Germany had won four of their five matches while their clash with Argentina ended in a 4-4 draw after the European superpower scored in the last 10 seconds to salvage one point.
Their best performance was against World No 2 Netherlands, whom they beat 2-1 while they faced some tough time against India in preliminary stage and also against New Zealand in the quarterfinals, scraping through eventually. However, on the second calling, the Los Leones put an end to their misery.