Australia deserving winners over Germany in Hockey World Cup final

2010-03-15 00:00

DESPITE the close score, Australia were deserving winners of the Hockey World Cup in Delhi, India on Saturday.

World hockey’s other powerhouse, Germany, will find it hard to disagree, 2-1 defeat or not.

Pressing the Germans, giving them little space in midfield and breaching the world number one’s defence while holding their own was the Kookaburras’ formula for success.

Their main concern was the possibility of dangerous opposition strikers scoring against the run of play.

There is a great history and rivalry between these two countries, and thankfully the final was exceptionally well umpired, with South Africa’s John Wright under extreme pressure from the Germans.

Eddie Ockenden’s goalmouth scramble (sixth minute) was equalised via a sophisticated second-half PC variation finished by Moritz Furste, before Luke Doerner’s low PC drag flick made it certain for Oz.

It was a special moment, as Oz have lost the last two finals by the odd goal to Germany, while coach Ric Charlesworth has now lifted the World Cup as a player (1986) and coach.

Yet again, SuperSport did hockey a disservice by not even bothering to allow viewers to watch the medal and cup presentation, yet time had been allocated on their viewing schedule. Instead, the umpteenth rerun of a rerun of one of those weekly sports wraps took its place; this on top of no coverage of the semi-finals or bronze medal matches, as well as not showing the South Africa/New Zealand match live, apparently because a commentary in English was not available, yet both are English-speaking countries? Who are they kidding?

Although, with a bit of luck, SA might have finished seventh, their agonising 9-8 (4-4 after extra time, penalty-stroke shootout 5-4) defeat by New Zealand on Friday in the ninth-place playoff (see Weekend Witness) saw them meet the SA Sports Congress and Olympic Committee criteria of finishing in the top-five Commonwealth Games countries.

Hence the SA team will attend the Commonwealth Games in India in October. Furthermore, the team’s World Cup form suggests they have a real chance of reaching the CG semi-finals.

However, seven months between events is a long time in sport and whether funds will be found to enable this young, talented but very inexperienced team (in world terms), to spend more time together in training and match play against other international teams remains to be seen.

Other classification results: (3/4) Netherlands 4 England 3; (5/6) Spain 2 South Korea 0; (7/8) Argentina 4 India 2.

Final standings: 1. Australia; 2. Germany; 3. Netherlands; 4. England; 5. Spain; 6. South Korea; 7. Argentina; 8. India; 9. New Zealand; 10. South Africa; 11. Canada; 12. Pakistan.

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