Some hockey fans tend to pigeonhole Shea McAleese as a player in the German mould but, it seems, regrettably the Black Sticks men desperately needed to clone a few more of the Hawke's Bay international yesterday morning to flip the Rio Olympics tournament on its head.
The 31-year-old midfielder from Napier, who is making his swansong at the games, even planted the ball into the German net in the 48th minute for his team's second goal as the Colin Batch-coached New Zealanders ended their Rio campaign with a 3-2 loss to the two-time reigning Olympic champions in the quarterfinals.
The Black Sticks were leading 2-0 before the gritty Germans hit back with three goals in the last four minutes to claim an emphatic victory.
McAleese had promised that, as "the golden goose" of the Olympics, the New Zealand men were going to surprise a few medal contenders and they have adhered to that script from day one.
New Zealand received an invitation as the next best qualifiers after South Africa withdrew from Rio.
During the nine days of competition in group A, the Kiwis lost 2-1 to Australia, drew 2-2 with Great Britain, came agonisingly close to holding top group qualifiers Spain to a stalemate before succumbing 3-2 after conceding a goal in the dying minutes and, in their final pool match, lost 1-0 to Belgium, who have former Bay hockey academy and Black Sticks coach Shane McLeod at the helm as coach.
McLeod's men yesterday beat India 3-1 in the quarterfinals and now face the Netherlands in the semifinals after the latter thumped Australia 4-0.
In the other semifinal, Germany will face Argentina who upset group B top qualifiers Spain 2-1 in the quarters.
Former UHC Hamburg player McAleese had prophetically said: "They say I play like a German and that's fine because they have won four Olympic gold medals, including Beijing  and London ."