Argentina humiliates Germany, to meet Belgium in final

Argentina humiliated double defending Olympic champions Germany 5-2 to reach the men’s hockey final for the first time on Tuesday. Joaquin Menini’s 35th minute goal was the pick of the bunch for an Argentina team which will win its first medal in men’s hockey.

Argentina's players celebrate their victory over Germany.   -  Getty Images

Thomas Briels of Belgium (left) shakes hands with Robbert Kemperman of Netherlands after the match.   -  Reuters

Argentina humiliated double defending Olympic champions Germany 5-2 to reach the men’s hockey final for the first time on Tuesday. In the final, it will face Belgium, which defeated Netherlands in the other semifinal.

The South Americans pounced on a German team which had only squeezed into the semifinals by scoring three times in the closing five minutes to beat New Zealand in the last-eight, 3-2.

Defender Gonzalo Peillat hit a hattrick of penalty corners with Joaquin Menini and Lucas Vila giving Argentina a 5-0 lead. Menini’s 35th minute goal was the pick of the bunch for an Argentina team which will win its first medal in men’s hockey.

Agustin Mazzilli escaped a defender to lift the ball over German goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi for his teammate to tap home. Peillat’s triple took his total for the tournament to 10. “We watched a lot of videos of the Germans before this game. We had three corners in the first part of the game and then we scored three-from-three so it was good, [we're] happy,” said 24-year-old Peillat.

Moritz Furste and Christopher Ruhr scored late consolation strikes for Germany.

Argentina was also indebted to goalkeeper Juan Vivaldi who pulled off 10 saves in total. “We didn’t play our best hockey [on Tuesday], that's for sure,” admitted Furste. “They defended well, they scored three corners, that just can’t happen. After that it was very difficult for us to come back into the game. But we believed in ourselves. We tried everything until the end, it just wasn’t enough.”

Argentina, ranked at seven in the world, has already surpassed its best previous Olympic performance of a fifth-place finish at the 1948 Games in London. Four years ago, in London again, it was 10th.

Belgium wins 3-1

In the other semifinal, Belgium reached the Olympic hockey final with a 3-1 win over Netherlands.

Emotions ran deep at the Olympic Hockey Centre after the second semifinal. Belgium beat the Netherlands for the first time in major competition, ending an 80-year winless run. The Dutch, who blew away top-ranked Australia in the quarterfinals, took over the mantle as gold-medal favourites.

Preceding the final Thursday, Germany and the Netherlands, who played in the final in London, meet for bronze.

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