Germany win hockey World Cup
Germany rallied from a goal in arrears to beat Australia 2-1 in the final of the 10th men's hockey World Cup, in Kuala Lumpur, on Satuday.
The victory gave the Germans, twice Olympic champions, their first World crown. They were in the final only once before, in 1982 in Bombay, but were beaten by Pakistan 1-3 then.
For Australia, too, it was their second World Cup final, having triumphed in 1986, at Willesden, England.
Troy Elder put the Australians, unbeaten in the tournament till the final, ahead in the 32nd minute, scoring from a penalty-corner, but the Germans replied through FIH player of the year for 2001 Florian Kunz, also from a penalty-corner, a few seconds from half-time to cross over level 1-1.
Oliver Domke's opportunism in the 64th minute clinched the issue for Germany.
Earlier, the Netherlands beat Korea 2-1 via a golden goal to finish third.
After a 4-1 victory over reigning champions the Netherlands in the semi-finals, Australia were favourites to win the title. But the Germans came up with a dfferent game plan and altered the script. They did not allow the Aussie forwards much room to break through from the flanks and, in the process, cut off their supply of passes into the circle, which, in the semi-finals, took the Dutch by surprise.
The match started at a furious pace and both teams threatened the rival goal, with Mathew Smith, for the Aussies, and Oliver Domke, for the Germans, splintering through. In the 15th minute, Australia could have been a goal to the good after Smith tore down the right flank and centred the ball, but none of his team mates were able to get a deflection to it.
Soon after Matthias Witthaus had a chance to give Germany the lead, but his stiff shot went over the post.
Play was then a battle between the midfielders, who made vain attempts to split the defence. But in the 30th minute, hardworking Aussie midfielder Brent Livermore moved in dangerously and forced the harried German defence to concede a penalty-corner in their bid to tackle Mathew Smith. Troy Elder delayed his shot, after Mathew Wells sold a dummy, and drove hard and true past goalkeeper Clemens Arnold -- 1-0.
From the restart the Germans stormed the Aussie goal, and with a minute left for the breather forced their first penalty-corner. Florian Kunz's drag flick beat Aussie keeper Lachlan Dreher, to enable the German cross over on level terms -- 1-1.
After the break, both teams maintained the scorching pace though the Aussies looked a bit more dangerous. They had three penalty-corners, in the 50th, 51st and 52nd minutes, but were unable to capitalise on any of them.
But in the 65th minute, Germany made the best on a defensive lapse, when Daniel Sproule lost possession. Sascha Reinelt put Bjorn Michel through and the last-named backsticked a shot from the left to right post, where Oliver Domke dived forward to deflect home -- 2-1.
The Aussies tried hard to find a reply to that goal but they ran out of time.
GERMANY: Clemens Arnold, Philip Crone, Bjorn Michel, Sascha Reinelt, Oliver Domke, Christoph Eimer, Bjorn Emmerling, Michael Green, Tibor Weissenborn, Florian Kunz, Christian Mayerhofer (Jamilon Mulders, Christian Wein, Sebastian Biederlack, Timo Wess, Christoph Bechmann, Matthias Witthaus).
AUSTRALIA: Jamie Dwyer, Troy Elder, Lachlan Dreher, Jeremy Hiskins, Matthew Smith, Paul Gaudoin, Daniel Sproule, Bevan George, Scott Webster, Matthew Wells, Brent Livermore (Craig Victory, Aaron Hopkins, Dean Butler, Adam Commens, Aaron Hopkins, Michael McCann) .
UMPIRES: Santiago Deo (ESP), Raymond O'Connor (IRL)
Mail Sports Editor