It was a test of Australian aggression against Germany’s calm, composed short-pass game. It was a clash between the star-studded flamboyant Australian forward line and the determined German defence that had got the better of them in two World Cup finals in the last eight years.
However, the third successive clash between Australia and Germany in a World Cup final ended in favour of Ric Charlesworth’s men as they won 2-1 to deny Germany a historic hat-trick of titles. Germany had won the title in 2002 and 2006 but, on Saturday, Australia played aggressively to deny their rivals space and opportunities to score. This was Australia’s second title triumph after 1986 in England which they had won under Charlesworth’s captaincy.
The big crowd at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium cheered lustily the spellbinding action as both teams played superb hockey. Australia surged ahead in the sixth minute when substitute Edward Ockenden scored in a goalmouth scramble. They created some good chances but were denied twice by German goalkeeper, Tim Jessulat, as the Kookaburras went into halftime, leading 1-0.
The young German team upped the ante in the second session but found the Australian defence tough to crack. Mark Knowles, Matthew Butturini, Liam De Young and Fergus Kavanagh --- the last two coming in as substitutes --- put up a solid display along with goalkeeper Nathan Burgers, who pulled off a couple of superb reflex saves to keep the Kookaburras on top.
Germany created some good chances in the second half and one of them paid off when Mauritz Furste levelled the scores with a drag-flick.
Both teams played end-to-end hockey as they attacked repeatedly in search of the winner. But just when it looked the Germans would thwart them again, Australia sealed the match as Luke Doerner’s powerful flick beat Jessulat.
Australia’s domination can be gauged from the fact that they had 13 shots at the goal of which only three were wide. The Germans, who won many hearts by unveiling a banner thanking the spectators for their support, had only five, of which only two were on target.