Olympic hockey: France gave walkover to Britain in 1920

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Bangalore, Jul 9: Here we take a brief look at the hockey tournaments played at the previous Olympics, starting from 1908, the first ever time the sport was played at the mega event. The Olympics featured only the men's hockey at that time. After 1908, hockey featured in the Olympics only again in 1920 (it was excluded owing to adequate support while there was no Olympics in 1916 owing to the outbreak of World War I).

1908 London Olympics
The Olympics featured hockey for the first time in 1908, also played in London. The mega show only featured men's hockey in those days.

Six teams participated in the first-ever Olympic hockey tournament (played between October 29-31), including four United Kingdom teams like England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Germany and France.
Germany sent a championship club while the French team comprised players from three clubs.

Winner:
England bagged the gold while Ireland won silver. Scotland and Wales won the bronze.

Results:
In the quarterfinal matches, England trounced France 10-1 while Scotland beat Germany 4-0.

In the semifinals, England drubbed Scotland 6-1 while Ireland defeated Wales 3-1.
Before the final, Germany and France played a match, unofficially the fifth/sixth position classification match, in which the Germans beat France 1-0.

In the final, England beat Ireland 8-1 to win the gold medal. Since there was no third/fourth position classification match, both the semifinalists, Scotland and Wales won the bronze medal.

Fact: Reginald George or 'Reggie' Pridmore, who scored 10 out of England's 24 goals in the tournament, was also a cricketer to have played for English county side Warwickshire.


1920 Antwerp Olympics

Only four teams competed in the 1920 Olympic hockey, which was played from Sept 1-5 at the Beerschot Stadium in Antwerp, Belgium.

The four sides, Great Britain, Denmark, France and Belgium played each other on a round-robin format and the team with the maximum points was declared the winner.

Winner:
Great Britain won all its matches to finish at six points and was declared the gold winner. Denmark with two wins from three matches won silver while the hosts, Belgium, with one win got the bronze. The fourth team, France did not win any match.

Results:
Great Britain beat Denmark 5-1, Belgium 12-1 and got a walkover from France.
Denmark lost to Great Britain but beat France 9-1 and Belgium 5-2.
Belgium beat France 3-2 but lost to Great Britain and Denmark.
France lost to Belgium and Denmark and gave walkover to Great Britain.

Fact: It is said that the England team had taken out its French counterpart for a drink on the night before their match and the treat was so liberal that the French team was completely unfit to make the grounds next day, hence gave a walkover.

Next: India win 1928 Games

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