'Gutted': Aussies shattered over Kookaburras' Olympic Games 'heartbreak'

·4-min read
Seen here, disappointment for the Kookaburras as Belgium win gold in the hockey.
The Kookaburras had to settle for silver after penalty heartbreak against Belgium in the men's hockey final. Pic: Getty

Australia has been left heartbroken after going down to Belgium in a nail-biting penalty shootout in the final of the men's field hockey at the Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Chasing their first Games gold medal in 17 years, the Kookaburras fell agonisingly short, despite a late comeback that forced the game into penalties.

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It was a gut-wrenching defeat for the Aussies as Belgium claimed their first Olympic Games gold medal in men's hockey, in the most dramatic of ways.

The teams couldn't be separated in a cagey first half that ended goalless.

However, the Belgians struck early in the third quarter to produce the first goal of the gold medal match.

The tension in Tokyo was palpable as the Aussies started the fourth and final quarter in search of a goal to keep their Olympic dream alive.

Just as the Belgians had in the third, the Aussies struck early in final term, after a period of sustained pressure.

Tom Wickham benefited from a frantic scramble in front of Belgium's goal to almost slam dunk the ball into the back of the net after a fortuitous rebound.

Both teams desperately tried to fashion a winner in a nerve-racking final quarter but the match ended 1-1 with a penalty shootout to decide the winner.

It was a similar scenario to the one the Kookaburras so expertly navigated in a penalty shootout win against the Netherlands in the quarter-finals.

Andrew Charter was the hero on that occasion and the Aussie goalkeeper was the man who stood between Belgium and the gold medal.

Aussies devastated after penalty shootout agony

The shootout started in the worst possible way for Australia as Blake Govers missed and the Belgians took advantage to go 1-0 up in the best-of-five battle.

Flynn Ogilvie showed nerves of steel to round the Belgian keeper and slot home from a tight angle, before Belgian made it two goals from two attempts.

Tim Brand - who scored the decisive goal in the shootout against the Dutch - delivered again for the Aussies.

A mistake from Belgium then gifted Charter an easy save but Joshua Simmonds' effort for Australia was thwarted by shot-stopper Vincent Vanasch.

Belgium's goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch celebrates after winning gold medal shootout against Australia.
Goalkeeper Vincent Vanasch was the hero for Belgium in the shootout. Pic: Getty

A foul from Charter saw Belgium fire ahead, leaving Jacob Whetton with a do-or-die scenario for Australia.

In gut-wrenching drama, the Aussie player swivelled and shot but his effort clattered off the post, only for officials to check a possible foul in the build-up.

After a lengthy deliberation, video officials awarded Whetton a retake of his shot after deciding the Belgian keeper had accidentally caught his foot.

Sadly for the Aussies it proved inconsequential as Vanasch saved Whetton's next effort to consign the Aussies to silver.

The devastating scenes left Aussies fans heartbroken on social media.

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