Aussies, Dutch draw in Champions Trophy hockey
MELBOURNE (AFP) –
Field hockey powerhouses Australia and the Netherlands played out a scoreless draw to keep open the fight for top spot in Pool B at the Champions Trophy in Melbourne on Sunday.
In the day’s other matches, England created history by defeating Germany for the first time at the eight-nation tournament 4-1, while Pakistan looked impressive in downing Belgium 2-0.
The draw means that Australia, the Dutch and Pakistan can all still finish on top of the pool with one more round of matches remaining on Tuesday ahead of Thursday’s quarter-finals.
Number two ranked Australia will be particularly frustrated with the result given they dominated much of the game, failing to convert numerous penalty corner opportunities against third-rated Dutch.
Having eight penalty corners to only one, Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann proved to be the difference, producing several magnificent goal saves.
Australian penalty corner specialist Kieran Govers said it was frustrating finishing with blanks despite dominating play.
“We need to make more of our chances, we are creating them but the goalkeeper had a good game but that is no excuse,” Govers said.
“We still need to put some goals in after the number of circle penetrations we had.”
Stockmann said despite his brilliant game he was disappointed his team didn’t come away with the win.
“Zero goals against is always the goal for a goalkeeper, but it is a team performance and we didn’t win so that is disappointing,” he said.
Earlier England pulled off an upset against the world number one Germans.
It was the first time England had defeated Germany at the Champions Trophy and they controlled the match from the opening whistle, scoring their first goal through Adam Dixon on six minutes.
England continued to press Germany and scored again through Harry Martin in the 10th minute.
Things improved slightly when Germany pulled one back four minutes later through an own goal, but England regained their two-goal buffer with an own goal two minutes before half time.
The Germans lost their discipline throughout the second half, with their inexperienced line up producing many sloppy tackles.
England rounded it off with a fourth goal to Darren Cheesman and captain Barry Middleton revelled in finally beating Germany.
“You have never seen a bad German team. Whatever tournament they go to however experimental it is they are a good team,” he said.
Pakistan made amends for Saturday’s disappointing 3-1 loss to the Netherlands with their first win over Belgium.
The result leaves the Belgians as the only winless team in Pool B while Pakistan still have a chance to finish on top of the pool.
After a goalless first half, Pakistan lifted their tempo after half time, and a goal to Abdul Haseem Khan was followed by another from Shafqat Rasool to put the result beyond doubt.
“Yesterday we actually played good hockey but we missed our chances. Today we missed some chances but we managed to score as well, so this is very good experience for our young players,” Shakeel Abbasi said.
India were scheduled to play New Zealand later Sunday.