German class to the fore
Germany finally showed what makes them the best team in world hockey. The young Germany team, playing with out a number of regulars, came up with a performance fitting of the reigning World and Olympic champions to outplay India 4-2 in the Punjab Gold Cup hockey tournament, reports Saurabh Duggal.Updated: Feb 07, 2009, 13:35 IST
Germany finally showed what makes them the best team in world hockey. The young Germany team, playing with out a number of regulars, came up with a performance fitting of the reigning World and Olympic champions to outplay India 4-2 in the Punjab Gold Cup hockey tournament on Friday.
The Germans had lost to India earlier in the tournament, wasting a number of chances. On Friday, they looked a different team as they kept alive their hopes in the tournament. They moved to five points from as many matches and also opened up competition for a spot in the final.
The Netherlands defeated New Zealand 4-1 to jump to the top spot in the table with 11 points and sealed a place in the final. India, with eight points in their kitty, need at least a draw against New Zealand in their last league match on Saturday to clinch their place. Defeat to New Zealand may pave way for the Germans if they overcome the Dutch by a good margin.
The young Germans handed the hosts a lesson or two in the manner in which they dominated the proceedings and scored goals.
Germany made the most of the chances that came their way while the Indian forwards lacked coordination and missed many opportunities.
"We conceded two soft goals due to defensive lapses and there was lack of communication in the forward line — that's why we missed so many chances," coach-in-charge Harendra Singh explained after the match.
As expected the two teams started on a brisk note and went on the attack from the whistle. However, it was India who went ahead when forward Tushar Khandekar sounded the board in the 12th minute.
However, their joy was short-lived as Germany equalized in the next minute off a swift counterattack. Jan Philipp Rabente gave the finishing touch to a superb move from the right flank.
The Germans then took control of the match and scored thrice in the next 30 minutes to quell the Indian challenge. Lim Kevin (21), Moritz Furste (34) and Tobias Hauke (38) scored to give the winners a 4-1 lead early in the second session.
The scoreline could have looked worse but for some heroic efforts on part of Indian custodian Baljit Singh.
The Indians drew some consolation when skipper Sandeep Singh converted their second penalty corner in the 64th minute to make it 4-2.
The Netherlands 4 (Rob Reckers 24th min, Lucas Judge 31st, Wouter Jolie 41st, Jeroen Hertzberger 69th) bt New Zealand 1 (Nick Haig 63rd min).
Germany 4 (Jan Phillip Rabente 13th, Kevin Lim 21st, Moritz Furste 34th, Tobias Hauke 38th) beat India 2 (Tushar Khandekar 12th, Sandeep Singh 64th)