By The Hockey Paper
Australia’s Kookaburras, in their first tournament without Mark Knowles, won the final men’s Champions Trophy in Breda courtesy of a shoot-out win over India in Sunday’s final.
The Netherlands, the hosts for the week, beat Argentina to claim bronze, but it was Australia who took the plaudits as co-captain Eddie Ockenden stepped into Knowles’ shoes with a superb tournament display in his seventh Champions Trophy.
The match was taken to a shoot-out after the score was tied 1-1 at the hooter. Australia had opened the scoring through a corner flick by Blake Govers before Vivek Prasad crashed in a third quarter volley.
However Kookaburras stopper Tyler Lovell proved the hero in the shoot-out, keeping out Sardar Singh, Harmanpreet Singh and Lalit Upadhyay as Australia triumphed 3-1.
Head coach Colin Batch said: “He had a good performance in the shootouts, they only got one out of the four shots and he was very dominant there. Towards the end of the game he made some critical saves at one-all. He’s a hard working goalkeeper and I’m pleased to see him get some reward and play so well for us in a final.
“It’s a nice win for us. It was a tough game and India played really well. We started well and then lost the momentum when India scrambled back into the game. It was a pretty tight affair in the second half so for us to defend as well as we did was impressive.”
Australia’s Aran Zelewski was named Best Player while India’s PR Sreejesh took the Best Goalkeeper prize of the tournament. The Best Rising Player went to Jake Harvie of Australia, with Argentina’s Gonzalo Peillat’s six goals earning him the Hero Top Scorer title.
European champions the Netherlands claimed bronze thanks to a 2-0 victory over Argentina, the Olympic champions. The match was evenly contested throughout, with both teams outstanding in defence to keep each other off the score-board until the fourth quarter.
The deadlock was finally broken when a perfectly executed penalty corner drag-flick from Jeroen Hertzberger ratted the backboard in the 47th minute. The scoring was completed by Mirco Pruijser, who produced an outstanding finish to flick into the roof of the Argentina net following a blocked penalty corner effort.
5/6: Belgium 2, Pakistan 2 (2-1 after shoot-out)
3/4: Netherlands 2, Argentina 0
1/2: Australia 1, India 1 (3-1 after shoot-out)
1: Australia – Gold
2: India – Silver
3: Netherlands – Bronze