Day 1 of the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy was witnessed by a large crowd who were treated to three top class matches.
In the first match of the day, Germany gained revenge over an England team that had beaten them in the final of the Euro Nations Championships, with Germany captain Max MUELLER firing a late penalty corner to secure a 3-2 victory. The match featured a number of incidents which called the trial “video umpire referral” into play, with one hugely significant Germany referral resulting in a penalty stroke decision being overturned.
Host Nation Australia surged to a comfortable 4-0 win over Korea, proving that they are in fine form as they try to defend the Champions Trophy title that they won last summer in Rotterdam. Des ABBOTT opened the scoring early with a well taken field goal before further open play strikes from Robert HAMMOND, Jamie DWYER and Eddie OCKENDEN completing the rout. It was the perfect result for the large number of Kookaburras fans who had turned out to watch their team in action.
The final match of the day saw The Netherlands record a 3-2 win over Spain in a match which was significant for one of the genuine stars of the world game – Taeke TAEKEMA. The penalty corner king overtook Sohail ABBAS – another penalty corner master – to become the all-time top goal-scorer in Champions Trophy history. Taeke hit the target on two occasions with veteran star Teun de Nooijer also registering to give Netherlands a 3-0 lead, a deficit that proved to be too much for Spain despite late goals from Pol AMAT and Xavi RIBAS.
Day 2 of the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy gets underway at 13.05 (local time - GMT +11) on Sunday, with World & Olympic Champions Germany taking on Korea The Netherlands and Australia clash heads at 15.05. England and Spain will both be aiming to secure a first win of the tournament when they meet at 17.05.
The FIH has launched a special tournament micro site which will be bringing you extensive coverage of all the action from Melbourne. You will be able to see video interviews with the players; read live written commentaries, match reports, and quotes; view stunning action photos from each match and much more.
For more information and direct access to the micro site, please click here.
Reports – Day 1
Match 1: Germany v England – 3:2 (1:1)
Germany has come away with a 3-2 victory in the first match of the 2009 Champions Trophy, giving them sweet revenge over their defeat at the hands of the English in the final of the Euro Nations Championships earlier this year. Germany captain Max MUELLER proved to be his team’s hero with a late penalty corner winner to seal victory.
The game was filled with ups and downs for both sides, with Germany taking an early lead through Christoph MENKE’s expert reverse stick shot before James TINDALL managed to get a touch on a speculative reverse stick cross from Ashley JACKSON to grab an equalizer. Germany took the lead in the second half from Jan-Marco MONTAG’s well taken penalty corner flick, but England looked as though they might at secure a least a dram when Ashley Jackson converted a Penalty Stroke in the 61st minute. Richard MANTELL was exceptional for England, thwarting many of Germany’s attacking moves. Germany midfielder Moritz FUERSTE - sporting a protective facemask following a recent fracture to his cheekbone - made the decision to step up the intensity, and he was the man that was giving Germany the advantage by creating numerous attacking moves as well as being solid in defence. Germany goalkeeper Max WEINHOLD was also in impressive form, performing an array of spectacular saves to ensure the Germans stayed competitive. Eventually it Germany won a penalty corner, and it was FUERSTE who set up Max MUELLER who launched the ball past the head of England keeper James FAIR to secure a deserved victory.
Match 2: Australia v Korea – 4:0 (2:0)
In the second match of Day 1, Australia secured all three points with a resounding 4-0 victory over Korea. The big story of the match was Matthew SWANN, the 20 year-old Queenslander proved that age is no barrier for success as he guided his Kookaburras defence to a clean-sheet.
It took Australia just 18 minutes to get the ball rolling, when Des ABBOTT found lifted the ball over the net from close range. Five minutes later, midfield star Robert HAMMOND slammed the ball into the goal from close range to give the Kookaburras a 2-0 lead which they held until half time. Two-time WorldHockey Player of the Year Jamie DWYER added a third with a brilliantly instinctive strike following a great passing combination between himself and Grant SCHUBERT. Australia made it four with just five minutes of the match remaining. Eddie OCKENDEN was the scorer, finding the net from open play to complete the rout, giving Australia all three points.
The news wasn’t all bad for Korea considering the number of attacking moves that, with just a little more polish, could have hurt Australia. Also, the improvement they made in the second half was considerable.
Australian coach Ric Charlesworth constantly rotated the players throughout the match, ensuring they are fighting fit for tomorrow’s clash with the Netherlands. George BAZELEY kept a clean sheet and showed that it will be no mean feat to put one past him this Champions Trophy.
Match 3: Spain v Netherlands – 2:3 (0:2)
The Netherlands narrowly escaped with all 3 points after avoiding a fiery second half comeback from Spain. The Dutch emerged as 3-2 winners in a game that burst into life in the second half following a Dutch dominated first period. This game will be remembered as the game that Taeke TAEKEMA overtook Sohail ABBAS on the Champions Trophy all time goal scorers list.
The first half was controlled by the Dutch, both in terms of possession and also on the scoreboard. In the 14th minute Taeke TAEKEMA gave his side the lead and also claimed his position at the top of the mantle of all time goal scorers in the Champions Trophy with 41 goals. Two minutes later it was captain Teun DE NOOIJER who extended the Dutch lead, sliding in to guide a classy reverse stick strike from Roderick WEUSTOF into the net.
The first goal of the second half followed a similar trend to that of the first half, with TAEKEMA collecting his 42nd Champions Trophy goal from another Penalty Corner. The game looked almost dead as Holland took the 3-0 ascendancy over Olympic silver medalists Spain. It was then that the Spanish sparked into life and began to play the way that everyone knows they can. In the 58th minute Spain captain Pol AMAT scored a spectacular reverse stick effort to make the score 3-1. Xavier RIBAS reduced the deficit further just minutes later with a firm drag flick just inside the post, ensuring that the last nine minutes of the game would be tense for both sides. However, it was the Dutch who held on for a deserved victory and will be looking forward to taking on host nation Australia tomorrow.
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