A day after defeating India in a gruelling semifinal and booking its spot for Paris 2024 Olympics, Germany brushed aside USA 2-0 to win the gold medal at the FIH Hockey Olympic Qualifiers here on Friday.
The final was held after India lost 1-0 to Japan in the bronze medal match at the Marang Gomke Jaipal Singh AstroTurf Stadium, which also decided the third and final spot for Paris from the tournament.
World No. 5 Germany, the highest ranked team amongst the eight participants in the Jharkhand capital, came into the final after a thrilling penalty shootout win over the host on Thursday night. However, Die Danas showed no signs of fatigue as it started aggressively and put Americans under pressure with its zonal press right from the beginning.
Skipper Nike Lorenz made a scintillating run through the USA midfield to find Jette Fleschutz who, from a close angle from the right post, found the top-left corner.
Sonja Zimmermann doubled the lead for the Germans in the 20th minute, successfully converting a Penalty Corner. Zimmerman’s drag flick hit US defender Alexandra Hammel, stationed to the right of goalkeeper Jennifer Rizzo, on the toe and found the back of the net.
Both Fleschutz and Zimmermann joined teammate Charlotte Stapenhorst as the top scorer of the tournament with four goals.
Germany completely bossed the first half with 10 PCs and 12 shots on target while the US had no PCs and a solitary attempt on its opponent’s goal.
David Passmore’s side started the third quarter more positively and managed to get out of its own half at times. Still, the Germans continued to dominate the proceedings with Lorenz creating multiple chances, only to be let down by the poor finishing of her teammates. US replaced Rizzo with Kelsey Bing in goal to prevent further damage in the final quarter.
Germany maintains its record of never missing out on qualifying for the Olympics while USA, which beat Japan 2-1 in the semifinals, returns to the Summer Games for the first time since 2016.
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