Belgium men, Netherlands women seek gold at Tokyo Olympics
HIGHLIGHTS FROM RIO:
MEN: Argentina defeated Belgium 4-2 in the final. Germany was chasing its third straight gold in 2016, but lost to Argentina in the semifinals. The Germans earned bronze by beating the Netherlands in a penalty shootout.
WOMEN: Britain won its first Olympic gold in field hockey gold by upsetting the Netherlands in a shootout in the final. The Netherlands was trying to win its third straight gold. Germany earned bronze by defeating New Zealand.
MEN: Belgium, the 2016 runner-up, won the world title in 2018 and is ranked No. 2 in the world FIH rankings. Australia, which lost in the quarterfinals in 2016, has recently replaced Belgium at No. 1. The Netherlands and India are No. 3 and No. 4 respectively. India’s coach is former Australia coach Graham Reid.
WOMEN: The Netherlands, runner-up in 2016, seeks its fourth gold. The squad is ranked No. 1 in the world and won the world title in 2018. Britain is back to defend its Olympic title. England, one of the three squads that form the British team, is ranked No. 5 in the world.
ATHLETES TO WATCH:
MEN: India’s Manpreet Singh was the 2019 FIH men’s hockey player of the year. India won gold in 1964 in Tokyo but hasn’t medaled since 1980 in Moscow. Belgium features John-John Dohmen, the 2016 FIH Player of the Year, and Arthur Van Doren, the 2017 and 2018 Player of the Year. Australian veterans Edward Ockenden and Aran Zalewski are among the world’s top players.
WOMEN: The Netherlands’ Eva de Goede has won the past two FIH Player of the Year awards. She’s 32 and has won two golds and a silver. Dutch player Lidewij Welten was the player of the tournament at the 2018 Women’s Hockey World Cup. Their teammate, Frederique Matla, is among the world’s best players at age 24. New Zealand’s Stacey Michelsen and Olivia Merry are elite players.
GOLD MEDAL MOMENT: Men, Aug. 5; Women, Aug. 6.