Olympic field hockey gold-medallists Germany added the Champions Trophy title to their kitty yesterday with a 2-0 victory over spirited Pakistan in the final in Bhubaneswar.
Chris Wesley opened the scoring in the 18th minute following a penalty corner before Florian Fuchs banged in the second goal three minutes before the final whistle.
Some 7,000 Indian fans at the Kalinga stadium cheered wildly as the young Germans, with seven junior World Cup winners from 2013 in their side, won back the Champions Trophy title they took in 2007.
Pakistan had two players banned for the final and one reprimanded by the International Hockey Federation for making obscene gestures at the crowd after the 4-3 win over hosts India in Saturday’s semi-final.
But the South Asians, looking for their first major world title since 1994, kept the rampaging Germans at bay for a major part of the 60-minute match played under floodlights.
The closest Pakistan came to scoring was early in the fourth quarter when a loose ball from the left caught the Germans on the wrong foot, but Muhammad Bhutta was unable to slot the ball in.
Pakistan had failed to qualify for the World Cup in June that was won by Australia and were also unable to book a direct entry to the 2016 Olympics after losing to India in the Asian Games final in South Korea in October.
With the cash-strapped Pakistan Hockey Federation unable to generate funds to fly in the team to Bhubaneswar, it needed the generosity of a businessman at home to sponsor the trip.
Finishing third were Australia, who defeated India 2-1 for the bronze medal.
The Kookaburras were without veterans Liam de Young and Rob Hammond, who retired after the World Cup in June, and five-time world player of the year Jamie Dwyer and Mark Knowles, who were both injured.
In the day’s other matches, the Netherlands took fifth place after beating Argentina 4-1 and England nudged ahead of Belgium 3-2 to finish seventh.
The Dutch struck four times in the final quarter to turn things around. The first quarter saw very few scoring opportunities for either side with the Dutch mostly in possession of the ball and Argentina lying in wait on the counter-attack.
From one such move forward, Argentine skipper Matias Parades broke the deadlock when he converted Matias Rey’s pass with a nicely taken backhand stroke.
The Dutchmen fought hard to get on the board before half-time but Argentine goalie Juan Manuel Vivaldi and his defenders stood firm. The third quarter followed a similar trend but the Oranje got level in the 47th minute when Mink van der Weerden rocketed home his fourth goal of the competition from a penalty corner.
And star striker Jeroen Hertzberger drew ahead with five minutes to go when he took in a right wing pass from Rogier Hofman, beat one man and fired home an inch-perfect reverse-stick shot for 2-1.
The Dutch added one more immediately after while Argentina had removed their goalkeeper to chase an equaliser with Constantijn Jonker popping into the empty net. The 28-year-old Hertzberger then added a penalty stroke at the death to complete the totally misleading scoreline.
“We didn’t come all the way to India to come fifth so it is a big disappointment. The quarter-final loss to Pakistan still hurts. But once we lost that match, it was simple,” Jonker said. “We had to finish fifth and I am very glad we did that. We showed character and I am proud of how the team played in the last two matches. It did not come easy but we managed to pull through.”
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