The Kookaburras took the 2008 Champions Trophy title, controlling the final well, and sailing to a 4-1 win after 70 minutes. Argentina wrestled down the Netherlands for third place, needing to go to penalty strokes to win the match. Germany and Korea started off the last day of the WorldHockey Champions Trophy here in Rotterdam in the match for fifth place.
Champions Trophy Final: Australia defeat Spain 4:1 (1:1)
In the anticipated final between Australia and Spain, Australia put the pressure on early, scoring in the fifth minute through Desmond Abbott who batted home the rebound off a shot to the crossbar. Xavi Ribas soon equalized for Spain however with a powerful dragflick that Stephen Lambert got his stick to but could not stop.
In an intense and fast-paced rest of the first half, the two teams delivered entertaining hockey with a number of scoring opportunities but maintained the deadlock until the break - and beyond. Australia finally tipped the balance with a penalty stroke converted by Jamie Dwyer in the 52nd minute.
Falling behind, Spain soon started upping the pressure - taking the risk of exposing their goal, which the Kookaburras capitalized on twice more in the final ten minutes.
Eddie Ockenden finished a Kiel Brown cross of with a hard hit into the boards, and Eli Matheson sunk a hard reverse stick shot in the final minute. Incidentally, Eli Matheson thus made himself the last person to score in this tournament after also having been the first to do so.
Australia thus claimed their ninth Champions Trophy title, tying them for most titles won with Germany. Individual awards were handed to Juan Manuel Vivaldi of Argentina as Best Goalkeeper, Florian Keller of Germany as Topscorer, Eddie Ockenden of Australia as Most Promising Young Player and Jamie Dwyer, also of Australia, as Best Player of the Tournament. The Fair Play Trophy was awarded to Spain.
Bronze Medal Match: Argentina defeat Netherlands 2:2 (1:2) 5:3 AET
In the second game of the day, Argentina challenged the home team for the bronze medal. The Netherlands were looking to end their three match losing streak that had thrown them off path after a strong start, while the South Americans were keen to at least take home a medal after having been pushed out of the final in dramatic fashion.
The Netherlands soon set the pace, and scored an early goal through Teun de Nooijer who had no difficulty tapping in a great Ronald Brouwer pass past Juan Manuel Vivaldi in the Argentine goal. The Dutch kept up the pressure but Argentina looked dangerous on the quick break, and one such break gave them a short corner that led to the equalizer. Juan Gilardi's original flick had been saved, but in the confusion in the crowded circle, Maro Almada had had the opportunity to tap the ball across the line.
Little later, Argentina's Lucas Rey picked up a yellow card after a harsh tackle on Teun de Nooijer, and while the white-and-blue were a man down, the Netherlands took full advantage, pulling away again with a goal by Ronald Brouwer.
After the break, it was open battle. Play was more physical than average and threatened to turn ugly at times with a number of verbal disagreements and clashes between the two opposing sides. Rob Derikx had to sit out a yellow card suspension at the beginning of the half, but Argentina was not able to capitalize on this as the Dutch had before the break.
And just when it looked like it was all settled, the Netherlands once more faltered in the final minutes of the match, conceding a goal at the hands of Mati Paredes that eventually forced the encounter into extra time.
In extra time, after an inital burst by both teams, play slowed down quickly and turned tentative soon, neither team able to gain a significant advantage. The 15 extra minutes ticked down without a goal, and the score still stood at 2-2 after 85 minutes.
So it came down to penalty strokes. Argentina started, their first three players scoring, Lucas Vila, Juan Gilardi, and Rodri Vila. For the Netherlands, Ronald Brouwer, Rob Reckers and Roderick Weusthof did the same. Next up for Argentina was team captain Matias Vila, who also scored, but his Dutch counterpart Robert van der Horst set his stroke beside the left post. Lucas Cammareri stepped up with the opportunity to take the bronze, and he did, to the great joy of his side.
This medal for Argentina is not only a record finishing for the team who had previously not made it past fifth place, but also an overall first: never in men's Champions Trophy history has a team from the Americas won a medal.
Match for 5/6th Place: Germany defeat Korea 3:1 (1:1)
The Germans started out strong, putting pressure on their opponents from the whistle, and they dominated the first half. Despite an advantage in numbers when Sung Hoon Yoon picked up a yellow card halfway through the first 35 minutes, they did not have much to show for it going into halftime however.
An early goal by Sebastian Draguhn, deflecting a Tibor Weissenborn free hit into the circle and taking advantage of a slip in concentration by Korean goalkeeper Myung Ho Lee, had carried the Germans along through most of the period, but a late goal by Woon Kon Yeo levelled the score. Yeo had a shot after a long cross into the circle, which was saved, but picking up the rebound himself, he beat German last man Max Weinhold on the second attempt.
In the second half, Germany was again the better disposed team but Korea held them to the draw until late in the match. A late surge by the World Champions yielded goals in the 62nd and 69th minute however, pushing the scoreline to a safe 3-1. The goals were scored by Tibor Weissenborn, finishing of a well coordinated attack with many stations by hitting the rebound off a Florian Keller first shot into the backboard, and Florian Keller, who scored on the reverse off an Oli Korn pass.
Germany thus took fifth place while Korea were confined to last place - a rather disappointing finish for both teams. Germany are the World Champions and title holders, while Korea disappointed mostly on their play, less their final ranking, in showing a lack of flexibility in their tactics and a lack of efficiency in front of the goal, with the exception of their way above average success on penalty corners.
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