Lausanne, Switzerland: The top honours in the FIH Best of 2021 fan vote have both gone the way of Argentina, with the men’s team taking the Best Goal prize and the women the award for Best Match, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) can reveal.
The Best Goal of 2021 award, as voted for by the fans of the sport, goes to Nicolas Keenan’s outrageous smash-shot against host nation Japan in the pool phase of the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
Following an exchange of passes with Juan Lopez, Keenan produced a moment of sporting magic with three touches all within a second of each other, lifting the ball over a defender’s stick at the top of the circle before changing the angle in mid-air and crashing a vicious overhead strike against the backboard of the Japanese goal.
It was a strike of pure, instinctive brilliance from Keenan, a truly iconic moment from a wonderful hockey competition at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.
The fan’s choice for the Best Match of 2021 also came from Tokyo 2020, with Argentina’s superb 3-0 quarter-final triumph over Germany generating the most votes.
Germany’s second place finish behind the Netherlands in Pool A saw them come into the match against Las Leonas, who finished third in Pool B, as marginal favourites. However, the giants of Pan American hockey produced a dominant display against Die Danas, with the deadlock being broken in the 27th minute by Agustina Albertarrio, a goal voted by the fans as the second best of 2021.
A Victoria Granatto penalty corner doubled Argentina’s advantage just before half time, with the result being put beyond all doubt by teenager and FIH Rising Star of the Year 2021 nominee Valentina Raposo, who fired home a superb penalty corner strike to send the eventual silver medallists into the semi-finals.
Best Goal of 2021
1st Place: Nicolas Keenan (ARG). Argentina Men v Japan (Pool phase) – Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
2nd Place: Agustina Albertarrio (ARG). Argentina Women v Germany (Quarter-Final) – Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
3rd Place: Dayaan Cassiem (RSA). South Africa Men v Belgium (Pool phase) – Olympic Games Tokyo 2020
Best Match of 2021
1st Place: Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Women’s Quarter-Final – Germany 0-3 Argentina
2nd Place: Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Men’s Pool B – South Africa 4-3 Germany
3rd Place: Olympic Games Tokyo 2020: Men’s Bronze Medal – Germany 4-5 India