Germany pips Spain 1-0 to win hockey title and Gold

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Beijing, Aug 23 (UNI) Christopher Zeller scripted a golden victory for Germany with his stunning 16th minute goal as Spain failed for the third time to win the Olympic hockey title, going down 1-0 in the final here today.

In an absorbing tussle, Germany was well served once again by their World Cup hero Christopher Zeller and once he got the breakthrough. The winners frustrated all the counters by the Spain forwards.

Spain, who earlier had lost to India in the 1980 Moscow Olympics and to Holland in the 1996 Games final, found themselves unlucky for the third time.

For Germany, this was their Gold medal win, having achieved it earlier in the 1972 Munich games and 1992 Barcelona Olympiad.

The Spanish forwards did everything except scoring as Germany surprisingly played a defensive game after taking the lead.

Alex Fabregas Xavier Ribas and Albert Sala individually and collectively tried every trick but just could not get past the crowded German defence.

It was not the best of finals, but nonetheless it provided some entertaining movements and the Germans proved their mettle as they withstood 15 minutes of furious assault by their rivals in the second session.

Also the Spanish strikers turned out to be poor marksmen and t this level of competition where even half chance counts they missed some good chances and paid the penalty.

Displaying awesome power and speed, Australia trounced Holland 6-2 to win the third place and bronze.

Australia, gold medallist at the last Olympics, rattled Holland as they pumped in three goals in a space of first nine minutes of the game and the Dutch never managed to recover from that shock.

Eddie Ockenden scored a brace (5th and 6th minutes) and Des Abbott made it 3-0 in the ninth minute.

Though Holland tried to battle it out with their penalty corner expert Taeke Taekma and veteran striker Teun de Noojier scoring a goal each in the 12th and 27th minutes respectively, any further hope of staging a rally was dashed by Ockenden who scored his third and the team's fourth goal in the 28th minute to take the tally to 4-2.

This totally demoralised two time champion Holland who just could get going in the second sesssion as Australia piled up the pressure.

Seven minutes into the second session, Hamm rubbed salt on Dutch wounds when he captalised on a defnsive lapse to slam the fifth goal and eight minute before the final whistle Luke Doerner completed the tally converting a penalty corner (6-2).

Earlier, a five goal blitz in second half enabled Britain to overcome Asian Champion Korea 5-2 to take the fifth position, their best finish in 20 years.

Winner of the gold medal in the 1988 Seoul Olympics, Britain came up with some sterling performances with Barry Middleton (44th), Ashley Jackson (49th), Jonty Clarke (54th, 63rd) and Glenn Kirkham (70th) scoring for their side.

Korea battled hard and managed to score twice from penalty corners with Jan Jong Hyun (48th) and Hyun Hye Sung (67th) finding the target.

In the first half, both teams took time to settle down and played at a good pace in hot and humid conditions as the session produced little action.

However, once Middleton scored off a Richard Mental free hit, the game came to life in the second half in which seven goals were scored.

Britain finished the campaign with four wins, one draw and one defeat while the Koreans crashed to their third defeat, finishing sixth.

China finished 11th as they downed South Africa 4-3 after trailing 0-1 till the 32nd minute.

South Africa took the lead in the 3rd minute through Lungile Tsolekile and held on to it for the next 29 minutes before China caught up when NA Yubo scored the equaliser.

Song Yi then converted two penalty corners in the 54th and 58th minute to take his side's tally to 3-1.

However, the South Africans fought back and reduced the margin through Ian Symons who flicked home a penalty stroke in the 63rd minute and in the 70th minute Austin Smith converted a penalty corner to restore parity.

The first half of the extra time failed to break the deadlock before Song converted a penalty corner seconds before the game ended with the golden goal (4-3) and China coasted home as the winner.

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