Sunday, December 6, 2009

Australia top of the world

FIH / Stanislas Brochier

Results Centre
Sunday 06 December

10:05 ENG : ESP 2:5 (1:3)
12:35 NED : KOR 2:4 (1:0)
15:05 AUS : GER 5:3 (1:3)

Gold Medal Match: Australia v Germany – 5:3 (1:3)

Australia have claimed the ABN AMRO Men’s Champions Trophy 2009 following a 5-3 victory over Germany in a pulsating final match in Melbourne, Australia. Both teams played with passion and pride in front of the capacity crowd, but it was Australia who emerged as the winners in a truly thrilling contest. Australia were forced to fight back from a being 1-3 down at half time, but second half strikes from Liam DE YOUNG, Luke DOERNER (2) and Fergus KAVANAGH gave the home favourites a victory that they will never forget.

It was a fantastic day for Australian hockey on many levels, with the Champions Trophy victory being added to the individual award given to Jamie DWYER, who was named as WorldHockey Men’s Player of the Year for a third time, while Grant SCHUBERT and Luke DOERNER were named as joint top scorers in the tournament. SCHUBERT was also named as the Player of the Tournament, with Korean keeper LEE Myung Ho being named as the Goalkeeper of the Tournament.

A huge and vociferous crowd had packed into the State Netball & Hockey Centre, all hoping to see a thrilling contest. The predominently Australian crowd got exactly what they had paid for from the moment the match started. Australia took a 1-0 lead after just two minutes when Des ABBOTT received a pass in the circle and clinically dispatched it into the bottom corner past Germany keeper Max WEINHOLD. The goal sparked wild celebrations from the vast numbers of supporters in the stadium who were hoping to see a Kookaburras victory. However, the youthful Germany team had Championship ambitions of their own and levelled the scores through Florian FUCHS, an 18-year-old who has a magnificent tournament. It was his fifth goal of the tournament, an impressive statistic for a player who arrived in Melbourne without a senior cap to his name. Germany then extended the lead when Martin HAENER scored a penalty corner which squirmed under the body of Australia keeper George BAZELEY. Things got even worse for Australia when Matthias WITTHAUS added a well taken field goal to extend Germany’s lead to 1-3 in the 26th minute. The Kookaburras battled hard to pull a goal back before half time, but Ric Charlesworth’s men went into the break facing a two goal disadvantage.

Australia needed an early goal at the start of the second half, and they found it through an unlikely source, with Liam DE YOUNG netting his first goal of the tournament by finished off a saved penalty corner effort from DOERNER. Australia really were in the ascendency, and grabbed it was DOERNER himself who fired in a trademark penalty corner flick to tie the scores at 3-3. The goal was a greeted by a huge roar by the crowd, but the Germans came back once in again in desperate search for a goal to re-gain the lead. Despite all of their efforts, it was the Australians who took a 4-3 lead when DOERNER stepped up to the mark to flicked another effort into the net for his second goal of the match in the 50th minute. Germany continued to battle hard but the result was put beyond all doubt when Luke DOERNER sent a huge aerial pass from defence to the chasing Fergus KAVANAGH, who brilliantly lobbed the goalkeeper to seal Australia’s tenth Champions Trophy title.

Earlier in the day, SEO Jong Ho inspired Korea to defeat the Netherlands 4-2 to win the bronze medal, while England were beaten to fifth place by Spain, who claimed their first victory of the tournament. Newly-crowned WorldHockey Young Player of the Year Ashley Jackson scored twice for England, but it was not enough for his team to avoid defeat.