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September 28, 2000
Dutch beat Aussies 5-4 on penalties
Australia crashed out of the men's hockey competition, beaten by reigning champions The Netherlands in the tie-breaker 5-4 in the semi-finals on Thursday evening.
After the teams were locked goalless at regulation time and 15 minutes extra-time, the Dutch scored all their five strokes in the tie-breaker to seal a berth in the final against Korea, who had beaten former champions Pakistan 1-0 in an earlier semi-final in the morning.
After Menti Eikelboom found the mark from The Netherlands's fifth stroke in the tie-breaker to make the score 5-4, Australia's Brent Livermoore pushed wide to the dismay of his teammates.
The defeat meant that Australia, who had topped the preliminary Group B league with an unbeaten record, will not be able secure an Olympic title, the only one that has eluded them. This was the eight time that they had entered the semi-finals.
The Netherlands are now in with a chance to become only the second team in 40 years to win back-to-back Olympic gold in hockey.
In the tie-breaker, Bram Lomans, Wouter van Pelt, Piet-Hein Geeris, Stephen Veen and Marten Eikelboom scored for The Netherlands, while Michael Brennan, Troy elder, Adam Commens and Elmer James were on target for the home side.
What an unbelievable match it was with both teams creating several opportunities but giving little away. Australia held a slight edge by way of scoring chances. Had it not been for Dutch goalkeeper Ronald Jansen, who brought off two brilliant saved in the first session when all looked lost, the story might have been different.
But then it is not always the team that plays better that wins. It is the goals that matter. The Netherlands, who came back from the dead after Great Britain shocked Germany in the concluding match of the Pool A preliminary league, kept their cool in the tie-breaker and got them.
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