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September 30, 2000
Veen 'tricks' as Dutch win men's hockey
The Rediff Team
The Netherlands, spurred on by four goals by skipper Stephen Veen, won their second successive Olympic men's hockey gold medal when they beat South Korea in a pulsating final via the tie-breaker 5-4, after the teams were level 3-3 at the end of 70 minutes regular play and 15 minutes extra-time.
It was the second consecutive shoot-out victory for the Dutch following their semi-final win over Australia. And, as expected, they came through it with aplomb, converting all their 'strokes' while the Koreans, who were into an Olympic final for the first time, muffed one.
For skipper Veen and his team the victory was well-deserved. Infact, they should have clinched it during regular play itself, after leading 3-1 till six minutes to go for the final whistle.
For their gallant fightback, the Koreans deserve full marks. They were always in with a chance and sure gave the reigning champions a run for their money. It was just unfortunate that ace striker Song Seung-tae, their hero of many a triumph, made a mess of his push in the penalty shoot-out.
Jeon Jong-ha, Yeo Woon-kon, Kim Kyung-seok and Kang Keon-wook scored for South Korea while Bram Lomans, Piet-Hein Geeris, Wouter van Pelt, Marten Eikelboom and skipper Stephen Veen were successful for the Dutch.
With their back-to-back Olympics success, the Dutch, who came back from the dead after Pakistan beat them in the last pool match and then Great Britain sent Germany out with a shock victory, emulated the Australian women, who beat Argentina on Friday for the women's gold. Eight-times Olympic champions India were the only country to win successive gold medals.
It was South Korea who got the scoreboard ticking as they drew first blood in the eighth minute through Song, who was quick to capitalise on a rebound and despatch home on his second attempt.
The Netherlands drew level in the 18th minute from a penalty-stroke, which was awarded after Bram Lomans's penalty-corner flick was stopped on the goalline by Jeon Jong with is body. Veen made no mistake from the spot.
With the teams level, a keen contest was expected after the breather. And indeed it was as the Koreans fought back from a two-goal deficit to draw level.
After the Dutch went ahead within two minutes from the restart through Veen, who applied the finishing touches to a good move by Marten Eikelboom and Teun De Nooijer, the Koreans made all the play but were unable to break through the crowded Dutch defence.
Much against the run of play, they conceded one more. Eight minutes from time, skipper Veen pounced upon a stray ball in the circle, beat two defenders and flicked it past an advancing goalkeepr Lim Jong Chun for his hat-trick.
That goal looked curtains for the gallant Koreans. But their never-say-die spirit saw them score twice within the space of three minutes -- in the 63rd and 75th minutes --- to come back and take the match to extra-time.
First, Kim Kyung-seok banged home from a penalty-corner scrimmage and then skipper Keon Kang found the mark.
Earlier, Australia beat Pakistan 6-3 to win the bronze medal.
In the classification matches, Spain beat Canada 3-0 to take ninth place, while Malaysia got the better of Poland 3-2 in extra-time to take 11th place. Poland, appearing in its first Olympic hockey tournament, came 12th and last in the competition.
The final placings:
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