15.06.2015, Brussels; The current Olympic Champions Germany and The Netherlands have both earned their place in the 2016 Olympics at the World Hockey League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires. Germany overcame the hosts Argentina in the Final as The Netherlands had a comprehensive win over Canada to finish 3rd and ensure their ticket to Rio.
Germany v Argentina 4-1 (1-0)
Germany are champions of the Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires. The world number 2 walked away with a 4-1 win in the final against Argentina’s Leones. Man of the match was Christopher Rühr who scored two terrific goals to seal first place.
The Olympic champions took an early 1-0 lead thanks to Christopher Rühr following a great solo-run down the left before cutting inside and slotting his shot in at the far post.
The first two quarters saw the Germans being in good control of the match. The so called “Honamas” dominated ball possession forcing Argentina’s Leones to rely on rare counter-attacks.
Both teams also met in the final of the 2013 Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johor Bahru, Malaysia, with Germany winning 4-2. The pool B match of the Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires, however, had finished 4-3 in favour of the Leones.
Argentina earned five penalty corners in succession in the third quarter but Gonzalo Peillat was denied on all occasions. The Leones forced another penalty corner after taking a video-referral. This time Peillat laid the ball off for Lucas Rossi whose shot on target hit the body of Tobias Hauke. The awarded penalty stroke was taken by Juan Gilardi (39’) to put the Leones on the scoreboard.
The goal gave Argentina confidence to push forward but the German defence marshalled by Martin Häner stood firm. However, Rühr (44’) scored out of the blue when he stole the ball from Carlos Ibarra to defeat Leones keeper Juan Vivaldi in a one-on-one. Pushed forward by the noisy spectators, the Leones tried everything to bounce back but the Olympic champions defended well. Instead, it was Germany’s Florian Fuchs (60’) who wrapped up the victory, finishing off a counter-attack to secure a convincing 4-1 win.
Thoughts on the match
Christopher Rühr (GER)
“We dominated the first half allowing Argentina not a single shot on goal. We defended very well, the second half was more emotional but in the end we deserved the victory. It was a great game from us.”
Carlos Retegui (ARG)
“Congrats to Germany. We are very happy with our overall performance because we had a great tournament. Today we also played a great match today and especially in the third and fourth quarter we challenged the Olympic champions. Germany could not relax because they knew that we can tie any time.”
Netherlands v Canada 6-0 (3-0)
The Netherlands grabbed the last available spot to gain direct qualification for the Hockey World League Final in India later this year. The world’s number two won the third place playoff against Canada with 6-0. The third place at the Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final in Buenos Aires also guarantees the Netherlands a ticket for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The current Olympic and World Cup Silver medallists left no doubt to take third place in Buenos Aires. Constantijn Jonker (2’) opening the scoring after a couple of minutes when he finished off great work from Jereon Hertzberger. The second goal arrived at the beginning of the second quarter when Billy Bakker picked up a promising pass from Robert van der Horst, played out the defenders and smashed the ball into the goal from a close range leaving the Canadian goalie Dave Carter no chance.
Carter faced several shots throughout the second quarter but the goalie made many terrific saves to keep the scoreline down. However, Carter was beaten when Mink van der Weerden (30’) fired home a penalty corner to secure a 3-0 halftime result.
The Dutchmen added another goal early in the third quarter thanks to Robbert Kemperman (34’) before van der Horst (40’) put his name on the score sheet increasing the lead to 5-0. Jonker (53’) scored his second goal with seven minutes remaining lifting the result to 6-0.
Thoughts on the match
Robert van der Horst (NED)
“We are really, really happy! It is great that our spot for the Olympics is save now. It’s also pretty nice to be qualified for the World League Final where we will have the chance to defend our title.”
Dave Carter (CAN)
“It was our goal to win the quarter-final match but we are not happy with the way we finished the last two games. I think we had a chance to beat Argentina on their home turf but we didn’t. Today was also not the performance we wanted but overall when we look back, we can be very happy.”
Source material: FIH.CH
Photograph: Germany, winners of the WHL in Argentina (Frank Uijlenbroek (c))