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Sport - Olympic Games Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

Australia removes bridesmaid tag

ATHENS, AUG. 28. Its women's team may have won the Olympic gold twice, but the Australian men's hockey team had been struggling to remove the tag of the bridesmaid till Friday night.

In a tough final, in which the seasoned Teun de Nooijer's injury and substitution in the second half considerably hampered the thrust in the Dutch ranks, it was left to the 25-year-old Jamie Dwyer to put the finishing touch on an Australian triumph with the golden goal.

"We had a lot of corners during the game and we played a lot better than how we did in other matches. The last goal came to me and I thought I had better hit it. I can't put it in words how I am feeling right now about the gold. I thank mum and dad for putting so much money into me as a kid'', said Dwyer, after Australia's historic triumph.

Dwyer had been part of the Australian team that won the silver in the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur in 2002, apart from the silver in the Champions Trophy in 2001 in Rotterdam and 2003 in Amstelveen.

"It would have been a travesty of justice if we had not won. It is an astounding achievement'', said Barry Dancer the Australian coach, quite proud and satisfied with his team's effort in the final.

"We wanted this gold medal for so long and to win it where the Olympics began is amazing'', said the Australian forward, Grant Schubert.

Of course, it was Australia that dominated the proceedings, especially in the second half.

The 28-year-old Teun de Nooijer was Holland's leading scorer with 142 goals from 275 international matches. Holland had beaten Australia 2-1 in the league, but the roles were reversed in the final though the score-line read the same.

The Dutch coach Terry Walsh had similar opinion, about Holland not being the same force in the second half and letting Australia dictate terms.

"In the first period we had control. In the end, 1-0 was a reflection of where the game was going. In the second half Teun injured his knee. We no longer had any power coming from the midfield. I have to be honest, Australia played a pressure game and I congratulate them for their performance'', observed Walsh, even as he confirmed that his contract with the Dutch team was coming to an end. — Our Special Correspondent

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