Hockey World League Final: Australia beat Germany 3-0 to book final berth
Australia defeated Germany 3-0 in their semifinal match at the Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar on Saturday to book a berth in Sunday’s finalother sports Updated: Dec 09, 2017 22:52 IST
Defending champions and world No 2 Australia booked their berth in the final of the Hockey World League Final, scripting a 3-0 win against Germany at the Kalinga Stadium on Saturday. They will take on Rio Olympic Games gold medallists and the top-ranked team Argentina in the summit clash on Sunday.
Playing true to reputation, the Mark Knowles-led Australia proved too tough for Germany, who struggled to put enough players on the field --- they came into the match with just 13 players --- as one player was out with injury, while three others were down with fever. But the Germans played with usual doggedness and put Australia under tremendous pressure, creating five penalty corners, though they could not capitalise on any.
Dylan Wotherspoon, Jeremy Hayward and Tom Wickham shared three goals as the Kookaburras sat back after taking a two-goal lead and absorbed all the pressure. It was neck-and-neck in the first two quarters with both sides earning a penalty corner each, but to no avail. In the third quarter though Germany raised the frequency of their attacks, they found Australia goalkeeper Tyler Lovell hard to beat.
Florian Fuchs and Martin Zwicker had back-to-back chances just before the end of the second quarter, but shot wide. Before that, Dieter Linnekogel’s hit off a short corner went out after hitting the side bar.
Despite German forays, three-time Olympic silver medallists Australia didn’t lose heart and kept playing the attacking game with long passes. Their repeated efforts paid dividends when Wotherspoon made no mistake in slotting the ball home off a perfect pass from Daniel Beale.
The goal seemed to have generated enough pace in five-time Olympic bronze medallists Australia, who earned the second penalty corner in the 43rd minute. Jeremy Hayward’s hit zoomed past German keeper Tobias Walter after hitting the stick of a defender (2-0).
Thereafter, Germany’s desperate attempts to reduce the margin failed to make an impact. Their decision to replace goalkeeper Walter with a defender in the dying minutes proved costly as Tom Wickham sounded the board at the stroke of the hooter.
Earlier, Belgium beat Spain 1-0 to finish fifth. Sebastian Dockier struck the all-important goal in the ninth minute.
Bronze medal match: India vs Germany at 5.15 p.m.
Gold medal match: Australia vs Argentina at 7.30 p.m.
First Published: Dec 09, 2017 22:52 IST