Sunday, December 10, 2023

Hockey World Cup: Germany break England resolve in epic shoot-out victory late show

Bhubaneswar — For 58 minutes, England were on the verge of a semi-final date against Australia and 240 minutes without Ollie Payne’s goal being breached. That Christopher Ruhr missed a late penalty stroke only for Die Honamas to score two in the final two minutes and win on a shoot-out, will go down as another great German hockey heist. 

In 2016, Germany scored three times in the last six minutes, including the last second, to deny New Zealand at the Rio Olympics. Here, it was an outlandish 60 seconds in Odisha from Andre Henning’s side, who then produced a faultless, routine-like shoot-out to deny England a fourth successive semi-final berth. “This will sting for some time,” captain David Ames said afterwards. And some.

For England played their best near-60 minutes of the tournament. Their man to man ploy, coupled with a moment of circle brilliance and a much-needed penalty corner, put Paul Revington’s side 2-0 up, through Zach Wallace’s volley smash and Liam Ansell’s PC, with Niklas Wellen kept quiet and Germany unable to find any counter space or, seemingly, a plan for England’s dominance. Payne’s vocals, bucking up and willing on his team-mates, were heard across the Kalinga Stadium. It was resolute, almost too easy duting periods. A Commonwealth and now World Cup semi-final against the Kookaburras loomed large.

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