The Australian men’s hockey team were bundled out of the Olympic Games at the quarter-final stage, falling to a 4-0 defeat at the hands of what was on the night a far superior Netherlands side.
The Dutch, second behind Australia in the world rankings, got off to a perfect start at Deodoro, opening the scoring after just 49 seconds of play through Billy Bakker.
Facing an uphill struggle from then on, the Australians were unable to get a foothold in the match and when Bob de Voogd added a second for the Dutch in the second quarter, the writing was on the wall.
Further goals came from Valentin Verga and Mink van der Weerden as the Dutch ended Australia’s remarkable run of winning medals at six consecutive Olympics – and went some way to avenging defeat they suffered the last time the two sides met, in the bronze medal match at the 2008 Beijing Games.
At the velodrome, Australia’s cyclists had a mixed morning as Matthew Glaetzer missed out on bronze in the men’s sprint. Russian Denis Dmitriev edged the South Australian in both their races, relegating Glaetzer to fourth overall.
In the women’s sprint both Stephanie Morton and Anna Meares lost their initial 1/16 heats, to Russian Anastasiia Voinova and Lithuanian Simona Krupeckaite respectively. Veteran Meares however then rode brilliantly to win her repechage heat, qualifying for the final eight.
At the athletics, Annelise Rubie and Morgan Mitchell, seeking to become the first Australians since the great Cathy Freeman to reach the 400m final, came in sixth and eighth in their respective semis, missing out.
A close call for Linden Hall (eighth) and Zoe Buckman (ninth) who also missed the 1500m final, with Jenny Blundell also failing to qualify.
But better news in the men’s high jump where Brandon Starc – brother of Test cricketer Mitchell – have qualified in the top 12 for the final, with a successful leap of 2.29m.
In sailing, Australian cousins Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin extended their lead in the Nacra 17 with a win in race 10. The pair have two more races to go before the final medal race and are 12 points ahead of Italy in second place.
In water polo, Australia’s men’s team looked to have kept their quarter-final hopes alive with a convincing 12-7 win over unbeaten Greece, but a late upset from Hungary, who defeated hosts Brazil in a later game, has meant the Sharks have missed out, finishing 5th in the group.
On the sands, Australia’s beach volleyball hopes Taliqua Clancy and Louise Bawden have succumbed to triple gold medallist USA’s Kerri Walsh Jennings and her new partner April Ross in the women’s quarter-final.
The Australian duo scrapped well but some sublime touches and preternatural awareness saw the American pairing comfortably home, 21-14, 21-16.
And in the basketball, the Boomers have continued their strong group stage form, notching up their fourth win of the campaign against Venezuela, finishing 81-56.
Australia finish second behind the United States in group A, the only side to have beaten the Boomers, and will face the third placed team from group B – at yet undertermined – when the knockout rounds begin.
A possibly serious injury to forward Cam Bairstow was the only sour note, with the Aussie bigman leaving the court with a possible dislocation.