Andrew Charter helps Australia’s Kookaburras win hockey quarter-finals at Tokyo 2020 Olympics
The Kookaburras are in sight for gold after goaltender Andrew Charter helped turn the tide on the Netherlands in a tense men’s hockey quarterfinal victory at the Tokyo Olympics.
Taken to a shootout after the scores were locked in 2-2 full-time in sauna-like conditions in Tokyo on Sunday, Charter saved the first three Dutch attempts.
Watch the remarkable shootout in its entirety in the video above
Blake Govers, Flynn Ogilvie, and then Tim Brand all showed poise in their one-on-one duels to put Australia in the race for the gold medal.
They will face Germany, who beat defending Olympic champions Argentina 3-1 earlier today in the semi-finals on Tuesday.
The victory was extra sweet considering they were dropped from the same stage by the Dutch 4-0 in Rio five years ago, while the Netherlands also prevailed in a shootout in the semi-finals of World Cup 2018 after scores were stuck at 2-2.
“Absolutely amazing to qualify for a semi-final at the Olympics… it wasn’t our best game, but we fought for this one,” Brand said.
“And we’ve been practicing penalties for a long time after the World Cup three years ago, so winning there was very nice.”
Chasing a second gold in men’s hockey after triumphing in Athens in 2004, the world number one team dominated the group stage with four wins and one draw.
They seemed on track to continue after Tom Wickham finished a smart cross from Brand for the opening goal in a half they controlled with 64 percent possession.
But the Dutch cranked up another gear in the third quarter, rewarded when Mink van der Weerden’s drag flick slipped through Charter’s stoic defense.
Wickham scored his second goal minutes later with Brand again involved in the preparation, but a yellow card to Dylan Martin for a professional foul suddenly changed the complexion.
The Netherlands quickly won a penalty corner and Jeroen Hertzberger made no mistakes with his penalty stroke after a shot hit the body of a defender on the line to deny a certain goal.
The teams played in a tense final 10 minutes before Charter, who had made a superb stick save in the opening minutes, proved impossible to overcome in the shootout.
“Andrew Charter was absolutely huge. What a pleasure to watch, ”Australian Commonwealth Games gold medalist Georgie Parker said on Channel 7.
“He is the hero with the blank sheet in this shootout.”
Play-by-play commentator Alister Nicholson said: “How he delivered for Australia in a desperate time of need.”
“He had to face a tragedy this year with the death of his father. But it is a moment of celebration for the Kookaburras and for Charter, ”he added.
Australian coach Colin Batch praised Charter’s experience, saying he “plays big on big occasions”.
Batch said the team have completely rethought their defensive setup since Rio’s poor performance.
“We think we have a number of ways to play and tactically we’ve held up for the past two years,” he said of changes since 2016 that have seen them rise to the top of the world rankings. .
“But it is a huge challenge that awaits us Germans now.”
– with 7NEWS