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It’s Germany vs Australia

india Updated: Mar 12, 2010 01:35 IST
B Shrikant

On the eve of the tournament, German captain Maximillian Muller was asked about his team's defeat to England and Australia in the European Championship and the Championship Trophy finals last year and what would they do if they run into them in the Hero Honda FIH World Cup.

Muller said his team has learned its lesson from both the matches and they will tackle the situation better if they meet them again.

On Thursday, Muller got his first wish when his team met England in the semifinal of the World Cup.

Two-time defending champions Germany on Thursday made the most of the lessons learnt in their 5-3 defeat in the European Championships by beating England in a match that mattered more — the semifinal of the World Cup here on Thursday.

On Saturday, they have a chance to test themselves in the final against Australia, who defeated the Netherlands by an odd goal in three to set up a repeat of the final of the last two editions. Germany had beaten the Kookaburras in 2002 and 2006 and it is to be seen whether Ric Charlesworth’s side could avenge those defeats.

Revenge was in the air when Germany met England in the evening. The Germans came out with a plan — to exploit the chinks in the England defence in the absence of defender Richard Mantell. The World No 1 scored two early goals and maintained pressure throughout the match. They kept attacking and defending strongly till the final hooter.

Jan-Marco Montag, Oliver Korn, Martin Haner and Linus Butt scored for Germany while Richard Smith scored England’s lone goal in the first half off a penalty corner. The Germans capitalised on three of their six penalty corners.

England could not score despite creating chances. Ashley Jackson, skipper Barry Middleton, James Tindall, Iain Mackay and Rob Moore created chances but Haner, Muller and keeper Tim Jissulat rescued them repeatedly. They kept throwing themselves at the England forwards to thwart them. For their efforts, Witthaus was declared man of the match while Haner was adjudged the best defender.

Aus turn on the power

Australia and Holland battled in the other semifinal. Luke Doerner put Australia ahead in the 27th minute off a penalty corner and they maintained their advantage till the 55th minute when Glenn Turner, with a quick turn in front of the goal pushed it past Dutch keeper Guus Vogels to make it 2-0. Taeke Taekema made it 2-1 for Holland by converting a penalty stroke. With 12 minutes on the clock, the Netherlands had two golden chances to equalise but failed to do so.