Germany ran riot in the 3rd/4th place playoff here in London as South Africa just ran out of steam. In truth, the result did not reflect the efforts of the Springboks who have worked hard and impressed many with their performances this week, in the end, it was probably a game too far and Germany punished them late on.
The game started with Germany pushing hard for the opening goal, Maike Stockel went close to finishing Celine Wilde’s pass and Natascha Keller was giving Kate Woods a lot of problems down the left flank.
On nine minutes Keller opened the scoring from a short corner. She moved the ball to the right and hit a straight strike past Mariette Rix.
South Africa had a great chance to hit back as Pietie Coetzee found herself with just Yvonne Frank to beat, however Frank did superbly and took the ball away from the forward with her stick.
They didn’t have to wait long for their goal, Coetzee was involved again as she robbed Mandy Haase and shot at goal, Frank saved but Dirkie Chamberlain followed in and finished with some style to make it 1-1.
South Africa were growing in confidence and Kathleen Taylor went close after being set up by Coetezee.
Germany got themselves in front with a well taken goal from Kristina Hillman sliding in at the far post, that’s how it stayed until half time.
The European side extinguished any hopes of a South African fight back with two goals in the 40th and 47th minutes, Julia Muller scored from a penalty corner and Janine Beerman scored from open play, forcing home from close range.
South Africa’s high intensity over the week was starting to take its toll and they looked dead on their feet. Gaps between defence and midfield began to appear and Germany’s excellent ball speed and movement began to exploit these. Keller found Beerman in the D and she scored her second of the match. Katharina Otte got in on the scoring, lifting home a good finish to make it 6-1.
South Africa rallied and managed to grab a second goal. A splendid run from Dirkie Chamberlain into the D saw the ball squeeze past Frank, where it was slapped home by Coetezee for 6-2.
South Africa had come up against a clinical German side who took their chances superbly. The German side defended very well and wore their opponents down. Undoubtedly the South African style of play made it hard to maintain the same level of pressure throughout, however, longer rest periods in the Olympics should help with that problem.
Michael Behrmann, German coach: “I am very proud of the performance and happy with the bronze medal here. To score six in any game is very pleasing and it is good to see us improving in that area.”
Marsha Marescia, later named player of the tournament said: “Obviously there is work to be done for us. We are extremely motivated as a group and improving all the time. The result today was not a reflection of the game, but we will learn lessons from this and come back stronger.”