Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blaak blunder lands Germans fifth title

FINAL -- Netherlands 1 Germany 3; Third-Fourth: New Zealand 1 Australia 4.

FINAL STANDING: 1 Germany, 2 Netherlands, 3 Australia, 4 New Zealand, 5 Pakistan, 6 Argentina, 7 South Korea, 8 Spain, 9 India, 10 Poland, 11 Belgium, 12 Malaysia, 13 Japan, 14 Egypt, 15 South Africa, 16 England, 17 Chile, 18 Russia, 19 Singapore, 20 USA.

ROLL-OF-HOOUR: Best Player of the Final: Florian Fuchs (Germany)
Best Player of the Tournament: Simon Child (New Zealand).
Best Goalkeeper: Nicklas Sakowsky (Germany)
Top Scorer: Mink van der Weerden (Netherlands, 13 goals).
Fairplay: Germany.

IT was not a moment of brilliance as predicted by German skipper Martin Haner, but a Dutch blunder which landed the Germans their fifth Junior World Cup title at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.
The match was tied 1-1 and looked like it was heading towards the sudden-death, but a boo-boo by Dutch goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak gave the Germans the break they were looking for and they went on to win 3-1. For the record, the Germans were also champions in 1982, 1985, 1989 and 1993.
The Dutch were contended with moving the ball around, and kept attacking at the minimum. Most of the forwards went into the semi-circle looking for a penalty corner, and they finally got it in the 21st minute.
Tournament top-scorer Mink van der Weerden took his tally to 13 with a powerful drag-flick, and the ball was almost invincible until it went crashing into the net.
Germany were shocked, but fought back for the equaliser with a series of attacks, and the capacity crowd went wild when Marco Miltkau deflected home in the 24th minute, and the match finally started.
The half-time hooter saw them entering the dressing room tied on goals, but the Germans had more circle penatrations, and looked deadlier, while the Dutch kept looking for their second penalty corner, but it never came.
Instead, it was the Germans who won their first penalty corner in the 41st minute, but their set-piece was too fancy and the score remained.
The Dutch were in their element, and defended well, but a 56th minute blunder by their goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak saw them trailing.
A tame cross from the right reached Blaak, who was under no pressure to make a clearance, but he kicked softly towards his defender, but the ball reached Florian Fuchs and he cooly tucked in the lead.
And even before the Ducth could recover, Jan Fleckhaus scored off a melee in the 61st minute, and it was good enough to land the Germans their fifth title.
Meanwhile, Australia outclassed their neighbors New Zealand 4-1 in the bronze playoff.
Australia went on a scoring spree and were 3-0 by half-time, with a brace from Timothy Bates (14th, 27th) and Michael Bates (27th). New Zealand pulled one back in the 47th minute with an effort from Joseph Bartholomew, but Adrian Lockley locked out the Kiws out with a 69th minute goal.

FIH Pictures

Dutch hold slight edge

GERMANY has won the Junior World Cup four times, while it was a good 24 years ago when the Netherlands last made the finals, but the odds heavily favour the Dutch, who have a penalty corner machine with them for the Ninth Edition.
Pakistan (1979), Australia (1997), India (2001), Argentina (2005) and Germany (1982, 1985, 1989, 1993), are the only five countries that have tasted glory since the tournament was incepted.
And it was the Germans who denied Netherlands the title in 1985, in Vancouver, Canada. But if 20-year-old Mink van der Weerden is on form again, the Dutch will join the ilustrious list of Junior World Cup champions.
Mink is currently the top-scorer with 12 penalty corner goals, and even German skipper Martin Häner admitted that only two things could snatch the title away from their grips.
"One is a flash of brilliance from the Dutch, and the other is Mink. We must make sure that we give him the least opportunities because he is deadly during penalty corners," said Haner.
The German skipper said his team-mates have been at their best so far, and he is confident they will perform again as a team in the final.
"We have four titles and will be going for our fifth. I have full confidence on my team-mates to deliver again," said Haner.
And the skipper has some good words to say agout their youngest player, 17-year-old Florian Fuchs who scored two goals against Australia in the semi-finals, which included the sudden-death match winner.
"Fuchs is simply awsome with the ball and he executes training drills just as well during matches. And when he beat one Australian defender, and then the goalkeeper but the ball moved to a narrow angle, I knew he was going to score even before he took the hit that took us into the final," said Haner.
The Germans have history on their side, while the Dutch will be out to create history, so the crowd can expect some excellent hockey on Sunday at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.

Late show not enough

MALAYSIA paid a heavy price for their inconsistency as they lost 3-2 to Belgium at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday to finish 12th in the Junior World Cup.

Needing a win to please their fans, who still turned out in droves, Malaysia were guilty of sleeping in the first half and only playing hockey in the remaining 35 minutes.
The first half was pathetic, as Malaysia failed to even make one dangerous penetration into the Belgium semi-circle, and goalkeeper Jeremy Gucassoff had a nice time watching the match from a distance.
But at the other end, Malaysian goalkeeper Abdul Hakim was mercilessly pounded and after bringing out several superb saves, finally let in the first goal in the 26th minute, tucked in by Felix Denayar.
The absence of suspended top-scorer Faizal Shari was sorely felt and just before the halftime hooter, Simon Gougnard made it 2-0.
Malaysia remained as a punching bag at the re-start, and Amaury Keusters made it 3-0 with a field goal in the 40th minute.
Izwan Firdaus narrowed the gap with a 43rd minute field goal, and R. Nadesh made it 2-3 with a 69th minute field goal as Malaysia's campaign came to an end.