(Photo: © FIH / Stanislas Brochier)

ABN AMRO Champions Trophy – Day 4: Korea and Spain played out a magnificent 5-5 draw, while The Netherlands defeated England, but there was little doubt about the biggest story of day. Germany produced a stunning victory against host nation and hot favourites Australia at the tournament in Melbourne.

The Melbourne crowd were treated to the highest scoring game of the tournament in the first match of the day, as Korea came from 1-5 down to secure a 5-5 draw against Spain. Pau QUEMADA hit a hat-trick for Spain to help his team on the way to a big lead before penalty corner expert NAM Hyun Woo scored one of the quickest hat-tricks in Champions Trophy history as Korea produced a remarkable fight-back.  The result meant that Korea are still in with a good chance of reaching Sunday’s final, but the draw ended Spain’s dream of reaching the tournament final on Sunday.

In the day's second match, The Netherlands recorded a 3-2 victory over England, giving the Dutch sweet revenge for their agonising defeat to the Englishmen in the final of the Euro Nations Championships earlier in the year. 19-year-old Robbert KEMPERMAN got on the score-sheet on two occasions, with the other goal coming from the stick of Rob RECKERS. The victory has boosted Dutch hopes of glory, but condemns England to the 5th-6th play-off game where they will face Spain. 

The final match of the day saw a shock for the home favourites as Germany produced an outstanding first half performance to defeat Australia 3-1. A full house watched Germany surge into a 3-0 lead before half time with goals coming from Jan-Marco MONTAG, Matthias WITTHAUS and Christopher WESLEY. Australia pulled a goal back through Luke DOERNER but it was not enough to deny Germany a win which gives them a great chance of reaching the Sunday’s final. 

See below for more information about these exciting matches.

Day 5 of the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy gets underway on Saturday at 11.05 (local time - GMT +11), with England taking on Korea. England cannot avoid playing in the 5th-6th place play-off, but a victory over a Korea team chasing a spot in the final would help to salvage some pride. At 13.05, Australia will be aiming victory over Spain to confirm their place in the final. The 15.05 match sees a clash of the European giants, with The Netherlands and Germany going head to head. The winner of this match could take a place in Sunday’s final, depending on how Korea fare in their match earlier in the day. Friday is a rest day.

The FIH has launched a special “microsite” which is providing 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, please visit www.abnamrochampionstrophy2009.sportcentric.com


Reports - Day 4


Match 10: Korea v Spain – 5:5 (1:4)

The Melbourne crowd were treated to the highest scoring game of the tournament in the first match of the day, as Korea came from 1-5 down to secure a 5-5 draw against Spain. The result means that Korea are still in with a good chance of reaching Sunday’s final, but Spain are now out of the running.

An impressive and passionate warm-up from Spain showed that they had turned up for this match with their A-game, determined to keep alive their chances of reaching Sunday’s tournament final by beating the newly-confident Korea. It took just two minutes for Spain to take the lead when Pau QUEMADA slammed a penalty corner into the net following a strong run from the inspired David ALEGRE. It was he who contributed heavily to Spain’s second goal just four minutes later, winning a penalty corner for QUEMADA again to send flying into the net. ALEGRE was in imperious form, and got his name on the score-sheet when he slid in to guide the ball into the goal for 3-0.  Korea were struggling to find the form that had seen them win their last two games, but star forward SEO Jong Ho pulled his team back into the match with a cleanly hit reverse stick strike that flew into the roof of the net. Despite this goal, Spain were the side that looked most dangerous, and duly re-established their three goal advantage when Edi TUBAU dived at full stretch to force the ball into an empty goal from close range in the 26th minute.

Spain moved further ahead at the start of the second period when Pau QUEMADA scored his third penalty corner of the match, a goal that would have been enough to kill off most teams. However, Korea clearly believed that they still had a chance to get back into the game, boosted by NAM Hyun Woo’s penalty corner flick which made the score 5-2 in the 58th minute.  NAM slammed another effort into the goal two minutes later before making the score 5-4 in the 65th minute to make the score 5-4 and complete one of the fastest hat-tricks in Champions Trophy history. With just five minutes left to play, Spain were against the ropes and Korea were in the ascendency – it seemed destiny that they would grab an equalizer at the minimum. It arrived in the 66th minute when You Hyo Sik tapped in from close range, much to the frustration of the Spanish defenders who had somehow managed to squander a 5-1 lead.

 
Match 11: England v Netherlands – 2:3 (1:2)

The Netherlands have defeated England in the second match of Day 4 at the ABN AMRO Champions Trophy in Melbourne, Australia. The result was sweet revenge for the Netherlands who had suffered an agonising defeat to the Englishmen in the final of the Euro Nations Championships earlier in the year. The victory has boosted Dutch hopes of glory, but condemns England to the 5th-6th play-off game where they will face Spain. 

The Netherlands took the lead as early as the fourth minute with Robbert KEMPERMAN being credited with the goal, although it was a huge deflection from the stick of an England defender that forced the ball over the line. Despite the luck of the goal itself, there could be little doubt that The Netherlands were well worth their lead. This point was proven when Rob RECKERS produced a brilliant turn and shot to extend the Dutch advantage in the 18th minute. England pulled a goal back through Richard MANTELL nine minutes later, with the big defender slinging a low penalty corner flick into the bottom right corner.

The Netherlands re-established their two goal advantage in the second half when Robbert KEMPERMAN claimed his second goal of the match, finishing of a nice Teun DE NOOIJER inspired move in the 49th minute. DE NOOIJER went close to adding a fourth goal following a great piece of link-up playing with midfielder Robert van der HORST, with the veteran star bringing a decent save from England keeper Nick BROTHERS. Despite the Dutch pressure, England remained a force in the game and reduced the deficit once again when Richard SMITH smashed a brilliant reverse stick shot from the left into the far corner of Jaap STOCKMANN’s goal. Ashley JACKSON had two good opportunities to pull his team level near the end of the match, but the Dutch held on for victory to bring new life to their Champions Trophy campaign.  


Match 12: Germany v Australia – 3:1 (3:0)


In the final match of Day 4, Germany caused a big upset by defeating home favourites Australia 3-1. A win for the Kookaburras would have seen Australia advance to the Final. However Germany came to play with three different goal scorers and a team effort that will give them great confidence heading into their encounter with the Netherlands on Saturday.

Australia came in to the contest with no losses to their name, and with Germany only one. The Australian people came out in their droves to see the Kookaburras in action and to cheer them on in the fierce battle that was ahead. Both teams played with intensity from the starting whistle, and the game witnessed several chances in the opening 15 minutes. Moritz FUERSTE was given a yellow card early in the game but returned to the field with the scores still level. The 25th minute mark saw Germany pounce on a loose ball in the circle, with Jan-Marco MONTAG slapping it into the net to put Germany 1-0 up. The goal put early pressure on the Australian’s with the Germans attempting the hard task of beating the home team. Merely three minutes later Matthias WITTHAUS, jumped on yet another loose ball, making the simple tap in to put Germany 2-0 up and exposing an unusually patchy Australian defensive line. Christopher WESLEY in 31st minute, slotted home yet another goal, making an effective penetration and chipping the ball to bypass Australian keeper Nathan BURGERS.

The second half promised to be a tough battle as Australia were keen to improve and reduce the deficit, while Germany were keen to consolidate a brilliant 1st half performance. Australia opened its goal account against Germany in the 53rd minute when they were awarded a penalty corner. Luke DOERNER put the finishing touches on a great attacking penetration by Australia, but still trailed 1-3. Australia looked a different team in the second half but didn’t have enough opportunities to take the game by the neck. Germany held on for the win to put themselves right back in the hunt for the silverware.