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2012 LONDON OLYMPICS

HOCKEY

Germany fights hard to defend hockey gold

Germany won the Olympic title for the second successive time when they triumphed 2-1 against the Netherlands, the former champions, in a blood and thunder final on Saturday.

Germany fights hard to defend hockey gold
Photo: DPA

Both goals were scored by Jan Philipp Rabente, who thus denied the Dutch their dream of becoming the first nation to win both hockey golds at the same Games.

It was also frustrating for the Dutch as they had beaten the Germans in their pool match earlier in these Games. But this is a very resilient German team, which they proved by scoring three late goals to defeat world champions Australia in the semi-finals.

“For the Dutch it was harder to play the final because until then they had never had any difficulty,” said Germany coach Markus Weise. “We had lost one and drawn one and we had something to think about.”

Dutch manager Paul van Ass said: “I have to say the Germans defended superbly today. We are very skilful, but the Germans won it despite our skills.”

Though the Netherlands had reached the final with a 9-2 hammering of Great Britain, they found far fewer openings this time, especially in the first half. Players with the skill of Florian Fuchs and Christopher Zeller for Germany, and Billy Bakker and Rogier Hofman threatened to break the defensive walls.

Eventually the three best chances of the half were created by the Dutch, but Germany scored the only goal. First Bakker wriggled through and forced a good save from Max Weinhold, and then Bakker was set up by Robbert Klemperman only for his shot to be deflected just past a post by a defender.

When Rod Weusthof was foiled only by a last ditch parry after a penalty corner it seemed that The Netherlands would make a breakthrough. Instead Germany did, two minutes from half-time.

Timo Wess sent a good through ball to Rabente, who forced his way past three defenders and, as he was falling, somehow levered the ball past the goalkeeper.

When Christopher Zeller hit a post for German early in the second half, it seemed to sting the Dutch team.

A period of prolonged pressure eventually brought two penalty corners, the second of which saw Sander de Wijn’s hit find Mink van der Weerden, the tournament’s leading scorer, who smashed it perfectly into a corner.

It was his eighth goal of the tournament, and his seventh from penalty corners, and with a quarter of an hour to go it jerked the match into a last phase of feverish intensity.

As the teams tired, openings began to present themselves more often. But it was Germany who found a little more from their reserves and made the killer thrust. Rabiente did well to force his way into the penalty circle, only for the

Dutch defence to repel the attack.

But when Tobais Hauke launched the ball back into the danger area, two German players plunged for the ball near a post and Rabiente got the golden touch.

There was still time for The Netherlands to rouse themselves for a couple of desperate last efforts, during which a heavy collision caused Germany’s Timo Wess to be led off injured.

But it was not quite enough, and the finish saw the pitch strewn with exhausted, laid flat orange-shirted players, and embracing white-shirted ones.

AFP/jlb

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OLYMPICS

Germany’s Interior Minister rules out ‘unthinkable’ bid to host 2036 Olympics

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer has ruled out a bid to host the 2036 Olympics, saying in an interview that it would be "unthinkable" on the 100th anniversary of the Nazi-era 1936 Games in Berlin.

Germany's Interior Minister rules out 'unthinkable' bid to host 2036 Olympics
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. Photo: DPA

Held three years before the outbreak of the Second World War, the 1936 games are widely remembered as a propaganda coup for Adolf Hitler's Nazi regime.

In March this year, Berlin's state minister of the interior Andreas Geisel faced heavy criticism after he appeared to suggest Berlin should bid for the 2036 Olympics in an interview with Tagesspiegel newspaper.

However, the 69-year-old Seehofer, whose ministry also holds the sports portfolio, said Germany could not be seen to celebrate the centenary of the Nazi-era Berlin Olympics.

“It would be unthinkable. If we did that, we would bring on an unspeakable international discussion and harm the Olympic idea,” he told Frankfurt-based newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in an interview published on Monday.

“How would people see it across the world? Germany celebrating the 100-year anniversary of the Nazi Olympics? That cannot happen.”

Aside from concerns over associations with the Nazi regime, there is scant public support for hosting the Olympics in Germany.

READ ALSO: Interior Ministry begs for more cash after 'forgetting' landmark reunification celebration

Public referendums, in 2015 and 2013, rejected proposed Olympic bids to host the summer games in Hamburg and a winter edition in Munich respectively.

Seehofer said that he was generally in favour of a German Olympic bid, but voiced concern that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had become too focused on commercial success.

“In the eyes of the public, the IOC has wandered too far from its original idea and into commercialism,” he told the FAZ.

He called on the IOC to “de-commercialise” and said he had “a lot of sympathy” for the German Athletes' Commission, which last year demanded that the IOC share a quarter of its profits with Olympic participants.

By Kit Holden

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