Hockey: Unlikely hero seals victory for Germany
Updated: Saturday, 11 Aug 2012 23:11
Jan Philipp Rabente was the unlikely hero as he scored twice as Germany successfully defended their Olympic title with a 2-1 victory over The Netherlands.
The 25-year-old struck in either half to make it a hat-trick of successive gold medals for coach Markus Weise as he also coached the women to victory in 2004 and was in charge of the men in Beijing four years ago.
Prior to the final Rabente had scored only six times in 77 internationals and the only player in the squad with fewer goals was goalkeeper Max Weinhold.
However, he produced a brilliant first just before half-time and, after penalty corner specialist Mink van der Weerden had equalised after the break, he deflected in a cheeky second five minutes from the end.
It secured Germany's fourth Olympic title (one of which came as West Germany) as they matched The feat of 2000 when they successfully defended their gold medal.
With the stellar cast on show from both sides Rabente was not seen as a match-winner before the start as he had not found the net in the tournament.
However, he is unlikely to score two more important goals in his career.
The first was a moment of pure individual skill as, in the 33rd minute, he cut in from the right, evaded a couple of tackles and chipped a shot while diving forward which beat Jaap Stockmann.
Florian Fuchs had already hit a post by then, flashing a shot across goal, while Weinhold had made saves from Rogier Hofman and Billy Bakker.
Germany midfielder Christopher Zeller was also denied by the frame of the goal in the second half when his shot beat the Dutch keeper for pace but with such a slender lead they were always at the mercy of Holland's short-corner machine.
Their well-drilled routine had an impressive 47% success rate in the tournament with Van der Weerden the key factor in that.
The 23-year-old duly delivered with an unstoppable flick 16 minutes from time to make him the tournament's top scorer with eight and defend his controversial selection at the expense of fellow specialist Taeke Taekema.
But the unheralded Rabente was not to be denied and when his run into the circle was halted it appeared the chance of a snatching a late winner had gone.
However, the Dutch failed to clear their lines properly and when Rabente nipped around the back of the goal having run off the end of the pitch Tobias Hauke's inch-perfect pass back into the circle allowed him to coolly deflect the ball in at the far post.