Picture: Australia’s Kieran Govers chucks one in (c)Treeby Images
Australia 3 England 2
New Zealand 3 Netherlands 1
Germany 2 Spain 3
It was a day of surprises in Moenchengladbach with New Zealand winning their first Champions Trophy game in 32 years, with a defeat of the mighty Netherlands. Hosts Germany were also surprise losers to Spain but England couldn’t make it three shocks – although they did push the Aussies hard, winning the second half and having a chance to equalise in the final minute.
Things didn’t look promising early on for England, as early goals from Simon Orchard and Matthew Swann put the Kookaburras seemingly well on their way to another crushing victory, having put nine past rivals New Zealand and six past the Netherlands.
But England, who inflicted Australia’s only defeat of the World Cup earlier this year, hit back through the ever-reliable Ashley Jackson, who was once more on target from a penalty corner.
Luke Doerner delivered a hammer blow to England by restoring Australia’s two-goal advantage just three minutes before the break and while Jason Lee’s men piled on the pressure, they could find no way through in the early stages of the second half.
Reading forward Jonty Clarke gave England hope by cutting the deficit to one but Australia held firm in the closing stages to wrap up a 3-2 win as Jackson uncharacteristically missed a glorious opportunity to level at the death.
Defeat means that England win their remaining two games and hope a series of results go their way – starting with Spain defeating Germany later tonight.
England assistant coach Bobby Crutchley said: “We’re pleased with how we played although obviously there’s some disappointment in not getting something from the game.
“We pushed them hard and caused them some trouble but they’re the form team just now, the team to beat.”