Germany end Australia's Champions Trophy reign to enter final
Bhubaneswar, Dec 13 (IANS)
Germany ended Australia's long reign as Champions Trophy holders, eliminating the Kookaburras 3-2 in a thrilling hockey semi-final tussle here Saturday. The Aussies have held the trophy since 2008, winning five successive titles, while Germany had not won a medal since 2009. They built a 3-0 lead by the early stages of the second half and while Australia fought back, Germany had just enough in the tank to get over the line.
The Germans got off to a dream start with two goals in the first nine minutes. Timur Oruz converted a diagonal pass from Lukas Windfeder. Mats Grambusch then extended the lead when the ball bounced back to him after the Kookaburras struggled to clear their lines. His powerful shot took a deflection off Fergus Kavanagh's foot to give Aussie goalkeeper Andrew Charter no chance of blocking the ball.
Australia did have their moments to reduce the margin, but it remained 2-0 until half-time.
A minute after half-time, Germany were 3-0 up as Florian Fuchs unleashed a beautiful punch shot into the roof of the net from a narrow angle.
Australia duly launched their fightback and had a lifeline in the 34th minute when Chris Ciriello dragged home his fourth goal of the competition.
And they were right back in the mix when Nick Budgeon smashed home seven minutes later following a scramble in front of the German goal.
It set up a grandstand finish in which Australia piled forward in numbers, but they could not take advantage from a corner and a number of goalmouth melees, leaving Germany to celebrate.