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Loughborough University

Beijing Olympics 2008

News from Beijing

13 August 2008

Hockey lose out last minute to the Netherlands

All six of Loughborough’s hockey contingent were in action in a tight match that saw them lose by the smallest margin to 2004 silver medallists the Netherlands.

Great Britain men lost out to a solitary goal seven minutes from time in a hard-working performance which saw chances at either end.

The Dutch had the first opportunity to score in the 9th minute, but Loughborough’s keeper Ali McGregor continued the fine form he showed against Pakistan on Monday to deny Matthijs Brouwer with his feet.

Great Britain had three penalty corners in the first half and prevented Holland, who are so dangerous from these set pieces, from earning any.

In the 27th minute, it was the woodwork that denied the Dutch after Robert van der Horst was allowed a clear run on goal and flicked the ball over the pads of McGregor, but was thwarted by the post leaving either side unable to break the deadlock at the break.

Denied of any first-half penalty corners, the Dutch were quick to earn their first of the game a minute into the second-half giving specialist Taeke Taekema his first opportunity of the match. Taekema scored a record 16 goals – including a double hat-trick against Belgium in the semi-final – as the Dutch cruised to the gold medal in last year’s European Championships in Manchester (when they qualified for the Olympics) and had scored two out of three so far in this Olympic tournament. However, an excellent save from McGregor prevented him from adding another to his tally at this point.

Their second penalty corner chance came on the 50th minute, and with Taekema not on the pitch, it was Roderick Weusthof who took the shot at goal, but he was blocked by a brave Alistair Wilson, a former Loughborough player.

Vogels performed a good save from a 50th minute penalty corner to stop Richard Mantell from opening the scoring and five minutes later, Ashley Jackson showed some lovely skills entering the circle and putting a reverse stick hit across the face of goal, but neither Matt Daly nor graduate Glenn Kirkham could get the touch needed to find the back of the net.

Britain’s best chance from open play came in the 58th minute when alumnus Richard Alexander did well to pick up the ball and pass to Rob Moore who moved across the circle and launched an excellent shot which looked to be going into the top corner of the goal, but Vogels was equal to the attempt and made a fine save to deny Britain again.

Team GB gained a numerical advantage in the 61st minute when Sander van der Weide received a yellow card and a minute later, McGregor made a double save from Robert Reckers. However, the numerical benefit did not last long as James Tindall was sin-binned for a clumsy challenge just outside the circle which also awarded the Netherlands the penalty corner from which they scored through Taekema.

Four minutes from time, Taekema was again thwarted by McGregor from another penalty corner to keep the score to 1-0, but they had already done enough to take all three points.

The result sees Great Britain retain an outside chance of qualifying for the semi-finals – but it will mean having to beat South Africa and Canada as well as table-toppers Australia, the world’s no.1 side, who have amassed 16 goals in two games so far. However, Team GB remain on course to finish higher than their world ranking of 8th which was the target set for the side before the start of the tournament.

Head Coach Jason Lee, also a Loughborough graduate, was proud of his team’s work rate against the World No. 3 side.

“Holland are one of the best teams in the world and we are not," he said. "However, we are trying to push to that kind of standard and this game reflected that. We are trying to play on quality and hard work I am proud of how we played. We have made some good strides in the last two years.

“We would’ve been happy with a point, obviously, but you have to play for full 70 minutes”.

Loughborough University - Beijing 2008

Beijing facts

There are 55 Loughborough athletes in action at the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Did you know?

Former Olympic Champion Sebastian Coe is a Loughborough graduate.

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