Host City: London, Great Britain
Venue(s): Riverbank Arena, Olympic Park, Stratford, London
Date Started: July 30, 2012
Date Finished: August 11, 2012
Format: Round-robin pools advance teams to classification round matches.
The list of medal candidates for the hockey tournament showed the usual suspects. Defending champions Germany were still held in high regard, but they had lost the 2010 World Cup final to Australia. The "Kookaburras" had also won the last three Champions Trophies, confirming their world #1 ranking. Other contenders were the host nation, which had won the 2009 European title, perennial medallist the Netherlands, Spain and South Korea.
The Australians got off to a great start in Pool A - winning 6-0 against South Africa and 5-0 vs. Spain - before being held to two draws against Argentina and Great Britain. After four matches, Australia and Great Britain both had 8 points, while Spain and Pakistan had 7, giving all four teams a shot at the semi-finals. The Aussies swept the field with the Pakistanis (7-0), ensuring first place in the group, while the hosts held Spain to a one-all draw for the second semi-final ticket. In the other group, the Dutch won all five of their matches, although their defense proved vulnerable in all matches. Germany took second place, their first match win over Belgium proving decisive.
The first semi-final, a replay of the 2010 World Cup final, saw Australia take the lead twice, with Germany levelling on both occasions. With 10 minutes left to go, [Timo WeÃ] first gave Germany the lead with a penalty corner goal, which was extended to 4-2 some minutes later. The other semi was a lopsided affair\: the Dutch humiliated the home team with a 9-2 thrashing. This was the highest ever score reached in an Olympic play-off round.
That result gave the Dutch a moral boost going into the final, although they had never beaten Germany (or West Germany) in the final of an international championship, losing to them six times in a European Championship final. And indeed, the Germans took the lead just before half-time, through [Jan Philipp Rabente]. Tournament top scorer [Mink van der Weerden] equalized from a penalty corner, but with five minutes to go, Rabente put away a second one. This gave Germany its fourth Olympic title (including one as West Germany in 1972), and the second one in a row. Earlier on the day, Australia had won its sixth consecutive medal, holding off the British team, which had hoped to medal for the first time since 1988.