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Field Hockey

Beijing recap
Germany defeated Spain 1-0 for the men's field hockey gold medal. The Germans had last won gold in 1992. Spain added to the silver medals it won in 1980 and 1996.

The top-ranked Dutch women defeated China, the upstart hosts who had played stellar defense throughout the Games, 2-0. Argentina prevailed over Germany for the bronze. 

More on Olympic field hockey

Duration: Field hockey matches consist of two 35-minute halves with a 10-minute intermission in between.

In field hockey, players use the flat face of their sticks to hit and dribble the ball down the pitch then attempt to shoot it past a goalkeeper.
In field hockey, players use the flat face of their sticks to hit and dribble the ball down the pitch then attempt to shoot it past a goalkeeper.

Participants: Each team is allowed 11 players on the field, including the goalkeeper. Rosters are 16 players, maximum. Substitutions are allowed.

Objective: Players use the flat face of their sticks to hit and dribble the ball down the pitch and attempt to shoot it past a goalkeeper and into their opponent's goal cage. Only shots taken within the striking circle count. The ball cannot be kicked, held or carried by field players. There is no offside in field hockey.

Start: The winner of a coin toss chooses either a) which goal to attack in the first half, or b) to start play with a center pass. The direction of play and ball possession is reversed in the second half. Play in each half begins with the center pass, when a player hits the ball in any direction from the center of the field while each team is positioned on its half of the pitch. The center pass is also used after goals are scored.

Overtime: For all matches that require a winner, if the score is tied after regulation, extra time of two, 7 1/2-minute "sudden death" periods is played. There is a five-minute intermission between periods when teams change end of the fields. The match ends when one team scores a goal. If the score remains tied after overtime, penalty strokes are used to determine the winner. Each team selects five players to take alternating penalty strokes against the opposing goalkeeper. If the score is still tied after the first round of penalty strokes, the same shooters will take another series of penalty strokes. This time, however, the game goes into a sudden death format. The first team to score more goals than the opposing team after an equal number of strokes wins.

Scoring: In field hockey, goals are worth one point. The team with the most goals at the end of the match is declared the winner. In order to be officially tallied, a scoring shot must be taken within the striking circle; a ball struck from outside the scoring circle that is deflected into the goal counts.

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