Kookaburras ready to inspire gold dreams
The Kookaburras aim to inspire the next generation of Australian hockey players by winning gold at the Tokyo Olympics on Thursday.
Australia booked their place in the final by beating Germany 3-1 and will meet world champions Belgium for the sport's biggest prize.
Belgium have never won men's hockey gold, while Australia's solitary success came in Athens 17 years ago.
"Those guys in '04 inspired a lot of us," said Kookaburras star Eddie Ockenden.
"I was a teenage kid then watching and I was an aspiring hockey player.
"If we could do that it would be fantastic, but every Olympics it is a different team.
"We've given ourselves a chance by making the final and it would be fantastic for our sport to do it."
World No.1 Australia and Belgium have been the two stand-out teams in an enthralling tournament in Tokyo.
The Kookaburras have scored 27 goals in seven games, with Blake Govers leading the way on seven.
Belgium smashed nine past South Africa and Canada and have scored 34 goals en route to the final.
"Any team that makes an Olympic final is a brilliant team," said Ockenden, 34, the most-capped player in Kookaburras' history who made his 379th appearance in the semi-final win over Germany.
"We're excited to make the final. That's what we came here for.
"The quarter and semi-finals were really tough games and now we are expecting another one.
"It's been a gruelling tournament.
"It's been hot and it will be in the final again, but we're all super-excited and in good shape.
"You have to be playing your best at the end. So we're hoping for our best game on Thursday."
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