Germany produced one of the comebacks for the ages, coming from 2-0 down with less than five minutes to go to beat New Zealand 3-2 in the fourth quarter-final on a special night of Olympic hockey.

Indeed, they trailed as late as 41 seconds full time before Moritz Fuerste slung in a drag-flick and Florian Fuchs tipped a Timur Oruz cross with just 0.6 seconds left on the stadium clock.

The kiwis had not won against Germany since 2009 in any sort of fixture while they had not won any of their last 13 game in elite level competitions since 1998.

Indeed, New Zealand had not initially qualified for the competition but got in when South Africa’s Olympic committee turned down their ticket, making this journey all the more remarkable.

But just when they looked to be ending those streaks, Germany did what Germany do best.

In a quiet first half, the Blacksticks took the lead with a bolt from the blue. Simon Child set in motion a sweeping move that eventually found Hugo Inglis at the head of the D.

He still had lots to do but he managed to weave in between two tackles before, off the floor, chipping the ball over the out-rushing Nicolas Jacobi.

Germany pushed on in the second half, penning New Zealand in their own 23m area for long periods. Timur Oruz won a corner that led to a triple block from the Kiwis, Martin Haner eventually seeing his shot kicked off the sideline by goalkeeper Devon Manchester.

Linus Butt and Florian Fuchs both miscued from the same great chance, the former clearing the bar as New Zealand rode their luck at times.

And, even with Simon Child in the sin-bin, the Blacksticks extended their lead when Inglis did brilliantly running the channels, winning a corner when all on his own. From the set-piece, the ball was dragged to the right post where Shea McAleese guided the ball in for 2-0.

Manchester made a series of good saves in the final quarter before Moritz Fuerste gave Germany a lifeline with four and a half minutes remaining.

They had further corner chances and, after Manchester saved a couple, Fuerste equalised with 41 seconds left. A shoot-out beckoned but Germany summoned yet another attack, Tobias Hauke battling to free Timur Oruz and he arrowed a brilliant cross which Fuchs touched home.

It means the Germans play Argentina in the semi-finals on Tuesday following one of the most incredible moments in Olympic hockey history.