Host City: Beijing, China
Venue(s): Olympic Green Hockey Field, Beijing Olympic Green, Beijing
Date Started: August 11, 2008
Date Finished: August 23, 2008
Format: Round-robin pools advance teams to classification round matches.
Before the Olympic hockey tournament even began, one hockey nation was already in shock. India, which had always competed since their debut in 1928, was eliminated by Great-Britain in one of the qualifying tournaments. Although the last medal of the 8-time Olympic champion had been back in 1980, their failure to qualify was considered an upset on the subcontinent.
India's absence did not affect the list of favourites, which consisted of the traditional powerhouses Australia, Germany, Netherlands and Spain. Germany had won the last two World Cups, as well as the 2007 Champions Trophy. However, they had trouble qualifying at the European Championships. At that event, Belgium, which had not competed since 1976, took the bronze ahead of Germany, forcing the World Champions to one of the three Qualifying Tournaments. Of the other favorites, the Dutch team had won the 2007 Europeans, beating Spain, while defending Olympic champion Australia had lost the past two World Cup finals to the Germans.
The round robin stage went pretty much as expected, with the four favourites going through to the semi-finals. Both contests were close affairs. Germany only defeated the Netherlands after a penalty shootout, while Spain came back from 0-2 behind to dismiss Australia 3-2. The final was not as exciting, both teams playing defensively. A single penalty corner, scored by Christopher Zeller, gave Germany the decisive lead after 16 minutes. Germany's title added a new chapter in the family history of the Kellers. Striker Florian Keller joined his grandfather, father, brother and sister as Olympic medallists.