Germany win hockey World Cup

Germany overcame Olympic champions Australia 4-3 to retain the crown in the 11th men's hockey World Cup.

updated: February 25, 2007 11:36 IST
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Germany overcame Olympic champions Australia 4-3 to retain the crown in the 11th men's hockey World Cup. Trailing 1-3, the Germans lifted themselves to pull off a dramatic and memorable victory to win their second World Cup on-the-trot. Leading the German charge was Christopher Zeller whose two goals (18th, 55th) provided the inspiration. Mauritz Fuerste (46th) and Bjoern Emmerling (49th) brought some spectacular goals to set stage for German celebration. The Australians, after falling a goal in arrears, had their best moments with Mark Knowles (19th), Matthew Naylor (25th) and Troy Elder (39th) giving them a 3-1 lead which was shortlived due to their own complacency. Paying for mistakes The Aussies had their chances when ahead, but mistakes in the midfield and a nervous defence cost them the match that they had seemingly sewn up. The final encounter began on a thrust and parry note with Germans probing the Australian defence that did well to stand up to the pressure. However, the hosts did not get a clear look at the rival goal despite a couple of promising penetrations with Zeller leading the way. At the other end, the Australians appeared short on pace and the absence of Jamie Dwyer was acutely felt. Though Michael McCann and Nathan Eglington took on the additional responsibility, they couldn't find their way through. Long hit The Germans eventually struck as Zeller latched on to a quickly taken long hit from the centre line to beat goalkeeper Stephen Mowlam. However, the reverse triggered a massive Aussie onslaught that led to three penalty corners. Knowles converted the first and Naylor the third to give Australia a 2-1 advantage that they nursed to half-time. Germany had but one great chance to equalise when Emmerling broke in from the right on a Zeller pass, but Carlos Nevado failed to get to the diagonal ball across the goalmouth. On resumption, the Aussies stepped up the pressure and the crafty Elder cut in from the left before passing to Robert Hammond. The burly forward flicked straight at goalkeeper Ulrich Bulboz who, however, could not prevent the ball from rolling over his body and Elder swiftly pushed it in to put Australia 3-1 ahead by the 39th minute. Mounting pressure The Aussies relaxed a bit and that invited pressure. The Germans threw more men in the attack and pumped in three goals in the space of nine minutes. Fuerste got a deflection to a Zeller's powerfully struck free hit and the Aussies had a battle on their hands. Buoyed by the goal, the Germans pressed hard and Emmerling completed a move that he had started, exchanging a pass with Sebastian Draguhn to level the scores in the 49th. The Germans were far from finished as Zeller sprinted in from the left, sent Mowlam the wrong way with a feint and slipped the ball to the boards for the fourth goal. Controversial penalty Four minutes from close came a controversial penalty corner that umpire John Wright (South Africa) awarded to Australia after consulting his colleague Henrik Ehlers (Denmark), but Luke Doerner's drag-flick struck the post. That was as close as they came to catching up and with final whistle began the party to the accompaniment of the song "We are the champions!" Final standings (2002 World Cup positions in brackets): 1. Germany (1); 2. Australia (2); 3. Spain (11); 4. Korea (4); 5. England (7); 6. Pakistan (5); 7. The Netherlands (3); 8. New Zealand (9); 9. Japan (12); 10. Argentina (6); 11. India (10); 12. South Africa (13). (PTI)