Kunz fires Germany into last four as Pakistan fume
Two penalty flick conversions from captain Florian Kunz guaranteed Germany a semifinal place with a 3-2 win over Pakistan on Tuesday.
While Pakistan railed against umpiring decisions for their failure to take a last-four spot, Germany and Kunz should really thank the mother of midfielder Michael Green.
On Kunz's request she brought the stick with her from Germany with which he had scored freely in the Champion's Trophy last year when she arrived at the weekend and Kunz responded with his first two goals of the championship after innumerable misses.
In the other match played in the morning session, New Zealand just held on to beat Belgium 4-3 after the Belgians scored twice in the last three minutes.
Hayden Shaw was New Zealand' s hero with a hat-trick from penalty corners (24th, 41st, 62nd minutes). Umesh Parag got the last with a 64th minute field goal.
Belgium replied through Vitali Kholopov (30th) and two penalty corners from Loic Vandeweghe (67th and 70th).
German coach Bernhard Peters had said Germany would play to win even though a point would guarantee a semifinal place and they were rewarded in 17th minute when Sascha Reinelt pounced on a rebound to put Germany ahead.
It was the striker's third goal of the finals.
Six minutes later the Germans were two ahead when Kunz netted his first penalty corner.
Pakistan came back strongly and forced saves from four penalty corners in row before in the final minute of the half Sohail Abbas got it right and slammed his shot past Clemens Arnold.
Within a minutes of the restart, the Pakistan marksman had levelled and suddenly with the sun blazing down, Germany were relying on breakaways.
But in the 48th minute Pakistan defender Tariq Imran was sin-binned and Germany took fresh heart for Kunz to put his side back in the lead a two minutes later.
Pakistan team manager Brigadier Khalid Sajjad Kohkhar was still fuming at the yellow card and a lot more after the match especially at European umpires he claimed were biased against Pakistan.
"I have lodged a protest," he told the post-match news conference.
"We had a goal disallowed, a penalty stroke not given and the yellow card was wrong. It is because of the umpiring that Pakistan has not qualified. We had biased umpiring when we played Holland (Pakistan lost 2-1) but today they went past all limits," he said.
His German counterpart was understandably more restrained saying players and umpires both made mistakes but not more than before.
"We are very happy to have come out of a very tough group with 18 points," Peters said.
Later in the final day of pool matches, both Pool A games could decide the pool's second semifinalist.
The cup holders, Netherlands would join the Germans if they beat South Africa but a defeat would let in the winner of the Argentina-Spain clash.
Pool B is more clear cut with Australia guaranteed a semifinal slot before they line up against India. Korea's plus-11 goal difference makes them near certainties to join the Aussies even if they are defeated by England.
The hosts Malaysia have an outside chance but they need to rattle in the goals against Poland to do so. Cuba are still winless going into their game with Japan.
The players have a rest day on Wednesday before the semi finals on Thursday and the remaining 12 teams play off for places five to 16 on Friday.
On Saturday, the tournament closes with the final and third and fourth place playoff between the beaten semifinalists.
Mail Sports Editor