Olympic Hockey: Tension and drama at its best

Helen Richardson-Walsh is mobbed after scoring. Credit KOEN SUYK

What an Olympic Games it’s been so far! The quality of the hockey tournament has, as you’d expect been very high. With the best teams in the world colliding, sparks were always going to fly but few could have predicted the extent of the drama we’d see.

From a Great Britain standpoint the women’s wins over Argentina and more recently the USA were two very different performances with two very different types of drama.

Against Argentina, many people’s gold medal favourites after their Hockey Champions Trophy win just a few weeks ago, Great Britain raced into a 3-0 lead thanks to Helen Richardson-Walsh’s double and Sophie Bray’s strike. A brace from Florencia Habif pegged Great Britain back and then, remarkably they were reduced to ten players, then nine players, then missed a penalty stroke. It was safe to say most, if not all GB fans were willing the clock down as nerves frayed. The players on the pitch however weathered the storm and completed the job. No problem.  

The USA game was a roller coaster for different reasons. Great Britain dominated, creating a number of good chances but found the Stars and Stripes’ goalkeeper Jackie Briggs in imperious form. To make matters worse, having peppered the USA goal without success, Great Britain then fell behind with just 20 minutes remaining. As with the Argentina game, Danny Kerry’s side showed their class, using all their skill and experience to dig out an equaliser with seven minutes to go thanks to Sophie Bray, followed by Alex Danson’s winner three minutes later. Nerve jangling stuff!

In the men’s competition, the Drama Kings are without doubt Germany. They have subjected their fans to incredible drama not once, not twice but three times. The first was during their pool game with India when Christopher Ruhr popped up with a winner just three seconds from full time. Against Argentina it looked like a 4-3 loss was on the cards until Mathias Muller’s leveller with a comparatively comfortable eight seconds to go. The best and most dramatic of all the comebacks however was saved for last night’s quarter final with New Zealand. Germany trailed 2-0 going into the final four minutes. Mo Furste clawed one back with four minutes to go. What followed is hard to put into words; such was the incredible drama at play. Perhaps you should just watch the video and enjoy. 

What we will say is that this is why we love the Olympics and this is why we love hockey. You want excitement and drama? Then see it up close at the Hockey World League in London next year, tickets on sale now.

Don't forget to follow all the action from our quarter final with Spain via our Twitter feed and of course live on BBC Sport.