RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) Even the resilient Germans couldn't work their way out of this mess.
The men's field hockey team has lived dangerously throughout the Rio de Janeiro Olympics, but it fell too far behind early against Argentina to pull off its typical late-match heroics and lost its 5-2 in the semifinals on Tuesday. With it, the Germans lost the chance to claim their third straight gold medal.
Germany had produced result-altering goals in the final eight seconds of three different matches before Tuesday, lending hope that the team still could hang tough, even when it trailed 2-0 at the end of the first period. Argentina kept the pressure on and pushed the lead to 5-0, killing any chances of a rally.
''It doesn't matter what happened four years ago, eight years,'' Germany's Tobias Hauke said. ''We were in the semifinal today at the Olympic Games. A lot of hockey players never have the chance, so you have to be ready for this, and we weren't ready.''
Argentina's Gonzalo Peillat scored three goals, all on penalty corners in the first half, to give his team a 3-0 lead.
''That's their strength - to gain penalty corners and then convert them into goals,'' Germany's Florian Fuchs said. ''He's a world-class striker, no doubt about it. It's also a great day for him scoring three out of three in the beginning. That's not usual. Even a world-class penalty flicker probably doesn't score so many.''
Hauke said the Germans might have waited too long to play the care-free style that spurred the previous comebacks.
''You saw the other day - it can happen really quick,'' he said. ''We thought it's too hard if we get another goal against us, and we got the 5-0 against us, and we didn't have a chance. We put the goalkeeper off and tried what we had to do, but it was too late. You can't do it every day.''
Argentina was all too aware of Germany's habit of making big plays at critical times. Germany salvaged a draw with Argentina during pool play when Mathias Muller scored on a penalty corner with eight seconds remaining.
''That's why when we were four up, we keep on fighting and keep on defending,'' Argentina's Lucas Rey said.
Germany finally got on the board when Moritz Furste scored with just under 10 minutes remaining. Christopher Ruhr added a goal with 2:21 left on the clock.
Hauke gave Argentina credit for making tactical adjustments since the teams fought to a 4-4 draw in pool play.
''They were pretty aggressive on the defense, so they won a lot of the one against one on the defense,'' he said. ''Also, they were really good with the one on one on the offense, and today, we were not good enough in the one against one.''
Hauke said the Germans don't have much time to straighten up their mental state. They will play in the third-place match on Thursday,
''It's a big chance to get a medal from the Olympic Games,'' he said. ''That's what we have to think about this evening, and from tonight, we have to focus on this game. It's another final for us. It's disappointing for us, but we want to get the bronze medal.''
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter (at)CliffBruntAP