Match 15: Netherlands v Germany – 4:3 (2:2)
Germany fell to a 4-3 defeat at the hands of The Netherlands in the final match of the day here in Melbourne, but it was not enough to deny them a place in Sunday’s final against Australia. The Netherlands played arguably their best hockey of the tournament so far, but could not improve their goal difference sufficiently enough to force their way into the tournament final. Sunday’s Final promises to be a thriller, as home favourites Australia will look to gain revenge over Germany, the only team to have beaten them in this tournament.
The Netherlands took the lead through Taeke TAEKEMA as early as the fourth minute, with Taeke TAEKEMA being the scorer from the penalty spot. It did not take long for Germany to find an equalizer, with Matthias WITTHAUS deflecting an excellent cross from the right from teenager Florian FUCHS. The 18-year-old got his name on the scoresheet in the 14th minute, before Rob RECKERS tied the scores when he expertly guided home a cross from Jeroen HERTZBERGER for 2-2. .
Legendary Dutch international Teun DE NOOIJER put his team back in front once again at the start of the second half when he produced an expert turn and finish in the circle, finding the bottom left corner of the Max WEINHOLD’s net to make the score 3-2. Rob RECKERS increased The Netherlands’ stranglehold on the game when he deflected in a penalty corner in the 41st minute. The Dutch were dominant, but could not add to their tally despite a number of penalty corners, uncharacteristically missed by TAEKEMA. FUCHS netted again in the 44th minute, and Germany went in search of an equalizer. Despite their efforts, Germany lost their second match of the tournament, but their objective to reach the tournament final had been met.
Match 14: Australia v Spain – 10:2 (2:2)
Australia were back to their dazzling best in the second match of the day here in Melbourne, crushing Spain 10-3 to seal their place in the final of the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy. WorldHockey Player of the Year nominee Jamie DWYER was in sensational form for the Kookaburras, scoring once and contributing with a number of assists. It was another hugely disappointing result for Spain, who had once again showed flashes of brilliance, especially in a first half when they lead the match minutes before half time. However, Australia were rampant in the second half, meaning that they are one victory away from defending the Champions Trophy title that they claimed last year in Rotterdam.
Australia opened the scoring early, and it was Grant SCHUBERT – a player who has had an truly outstanding tournament – who scored from close range despite an unsuccessful video referral from Spain. The Spanish did not take long to level, however, with Edi TUBAU slamming home a reverse stick shot. Spain began to control the game, and took the lead when Pol AMAT – another WorldHockey Player of the Year nominee - scored the kind of goal that only he can, drifting past four players before shooting into the net from the right of the circle. However, Australia leveled on the stroke of half time, thanks to Luke DOERNER’s accurate penalty corner flick.
Australia moved into the 3-2 lead in the 40th minute, with Grant SCHUBERT scoring his second of the match from the penalty spot following a bad challenge on the influential DWYER. Spain were not finished yet, however, with David ALEGRE making the score 3-3 with an expert defection from a penalty corner. The large crowd were beginning to feel the tension on the field, knowing that Australia’s place in the tournament final could be in threat. Their fears were put at ease when Luke DOERNER scored another penalty corner in the 51st minute, and a 5-3 lead was established just three minutes later thanks to Glenn TURNER. Spain were looking fragile, and Australia stepped up the pressure. The result was sealed in the 59th minute when Fergus KAVANAGH found the target to make it 6-3, and Spain fell apart. Four more goals followed, with DWYER, KAVANAGH, OCKENDEN and TURNER all netting to record a resounding win that does not do justice to how close this contest was in the first half.
Match 13: England v Korea – 4:2 (1:1)
In the first match of Day 5, England produced a great display to defeat Korea 4-2, denying Korea a place in the Gold medal match in the process. It was a match that saw both team’s enjoy periods of dominance, but it was goals from Richard ALEXANDER and Richard MANTELL which gave England their first win of the tournament. The result means that Korea will play in the Bronze medal match, while England will go into tomorrow's 5th-6th place play-off against Spain with renewed confidence.England started the match the brighter of the two teams, but Korea sound found their feet and began to play some classy attacking hockey. YOU Hyo Sik tested England keeper Nick BROTHERS with a rasping shot into his leg pads, but it was England who were the first team to score in this clash. Defender Ali WILSON proved to be an unlikely scorer, but it was he who slammed in a loose ball following a blocked shot from Richard MANTELL. Korea went on the offensive, intent on keeping themselves in contention for a place in the tournament final. After a period of relentless pressure, Korea leveled the scores when WorldHockey Player of the Year nominee SEO Jong Ho set up YOON Sung Hoon who fired powerfully into the England goal just before half time.
England grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck in the second half, and took the lead through Richard ALEXANDER in the 41st minute. The England midfielder forced the ball over from close range, with the goal being awarded following a lengthy video referral. Nick CATLIN extended England’s lead with 20 minutes left to play following a slick and decisive passing move which ripped through the Korean defence to give the England man a tap-in at the right post. Korea pulled a goal back through LEE Nam Yong, who produced a stunning turn and reverse stick shot that gave Nick BROTHERS absolutely no chance of saving. However, England seemed to have the chance to re-establish their two goal advantage when Richard MANTELL’s penalty corner effort appeared to hit the body of a Korean player on the goal-line, but Korea successfully appealed the decision to prove the shot was in fact going wide of the target. Despite this disappointment for England, MANTELL put the result beyond all doubt when he smashed a penalty corner against the Korean backboard at the second attempt to seal England’s first victory in of the tournament.