Saturday, February 24, 2024

Hockey World Cup: Germany reach final as Australia downed in thriller

Bhubaneswar — They told him he was still the best drag flicker in the world. Even as Germany accrued their 10th penalty corner and still 2-0 down. Even if, wave after wave, Australia were blocking Gonzalo Peillat out should he just keep shooting in a fruitless first-half. By the end of this pulsating clash, he had netted an 18-minute hat-trick before new dad Niklas Wellen scooped in with six seconds left on another evening of high drama here. This was the fifth match of seven of such entertainment. It truly is the World Cup that keeps on giving.

The green and yellow of Australia ultimately proved their undoing as two late cards, perhaps harshly, of the same colour handed to Tom Craig allowed Germany to take advantage both times in a pulsating final quarter. This was a night where Germany, aggrieved at several reviews going against them including being denied a penalty stroke, twice came back to prevail 4-3 at the Kalinga Stadium.

For the second time in 48 hours, Andre Henning’s side came back from the brink. This time they left it even later than their heroics against England. They opted to miss training on Thursday after beating England. It proved a shrewd move. Yet, you would have thought Henning’s side had several days on the Odisha coast – ‘Polite hockey’ was lawyer Henning’s half-time verdict to his team – such was their energy and penetration in the closing stages against a Kookaburras outfit unbeaten since 2014 over Germany.

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