Germany beat Netherlands 4-3 in a dramatic shoot-out to win the men’s hockey bronze medal at the Olympic Hockey Centre on 18 August.
The sides were tied 1-1 at full-time before Germany goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi played a crucial role during the shoot-out. He stopped two Dutch players from scoring while every German player called upon was able to beat Netherlands goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann, earning victory for Germany in a thrilling finale.
After an enterprising but scoreless first half, 18-year-old Jorrit Croon broke the deadlock for Netherlands in the third quarter thanks to some individual brilliance. Receiving the ball a couple of metres outside the attacking circle, he feinted one way and then spun the other past two German defenders before dribbling along the baseline, stick in one hand, and beating Jacobi through the goalkeeper’s legs from a tight angle.
Six minutes later, Germany levelled when Martin Haner shot through traffic after making a probing run. Both sides attacked during the closing stages of the game but the two goalkeepers made some impressive saves in the final quarter, sending the encounter into the shoot-out.
Germany’s Moritz Furste described how incredible it felt to claim the bronze medal, saying: “I think I’m experiencing every single emotion that exists right now. I’m relieved, happy and sad all at the same time because I just won an Olympic bronze medal, it was the last game of my career and I’m standing here with my daughter. It’s just overwhelming.”
Furste’s team-mate Mats Grambausch, who played alongside brother Tom for the victorious German team, said it was difficult to find the right words to sum up what a magical moment it was for him. “To get an Olympic medal is probably one of the biggest things in the world, and getting a medal with your brother is indescribable. I’m just so blessed that I’m able to play with him here. I’m really proud of him.”
Grambausch admitted he was nervous before taking his shot in the shoot-out, but added: “To be honest, we’ve been doing those penalties quite a lot in training, although obviously there was a lot of pressure. Luckily it worked out for us.”
Scoring a wonderful goal didn’t help teenager Croon come to terms with the defeat, but he said he wanted to use the loss to ensure that Netherlands placed among the medals in the future. "There were mixed emotions during the match,” he said. “We scored, played positively, kept working and looking to go forward, but it wasn't enough.
“I hope to be at the Olympic Games again in four years’ time. You don’t get the chance to win a medal very often so next time I’m going to try to play even better and make sure the Netherlands wins a medal.”