(Photo: Fieldhockey.fr)

The Gods of hockey were finally on Australia’s side in at the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 in Delhi: the Kookaburras edged a promising German team (2-1) in an exciting Final, the third World Cup Final in a row between the two countries. For the Bronze Medal, The Netherlands overcame a two-goal deficit at half-time to finally beat a valiant English team (4-3).

Game 38 – Final – Germany v. Australia: 1-2 (half-time: 0-1)

The final between Germany and Australia was the 6th World Cup in a row where these 2 teams have played each other in their last match of the tournament, initially in the 3rd-4th matches, then of course in the last two Finals, both won by Germany by one goal (2-1 in 2002 and  4-3 in 2006). Australian Liam de YOUNG and German Matthias WITTHAUS are the only players in the current squads to have played in the last two Word Cup Finals.

The final was really showcasing the best two teams of the competition, with Germany still unbeaten in Delhi, with 4 wins and 2 draws, while Australia had won 5 games in a row since their loss to England on opening day. The match started in a festive atmosphere with a full venue for the first time for a game not featuring the home team. Australia were quick into action and jump into the lead in the 6th minute by Edward OCKENDEN, managing to find the ball in a goalmouth scramble to push it out of reach of Tim JESSULAT in the German goal.

The young Germans, possibly initially impressed to play in such an important game, reacted well and started to develop their impressive collective game, led by Benjamin WESS and Philip WITTE. They forced a penalty-corner after a play that saw Australian keeper Nathan BURGERS intervene as high as the 25 meter line, but it was shot wide by Martin HÄNER.

Australia had another chance on a penalty-corner but Tim JESSULAT made a superb stick save that earned him a warm ovation by the crowd. The game was played at a frantic pace and the German forwards overwhelmed the Australian defense on a few occasions, however they could never get close enough for a shot on goal and halftime was reached with the lone early goal for Australia.

Second period started in a fiery atmosphere and the experienced Australians managed to unsettle enough the German defense to earn another penalty-corner, saved on the line by Maximilian MÜLLER behind his keeper. The young German skipper, 22 years old, played extremely well during this whole competition, as a defender and as a leader, and has a bright future in front of him.

Germany suddenly pushed forward and Matthias WITTHAUS had two decisive breaks into the circles, pushing Australia on their heels for a while. They forced a penalty-corner and this time Moritz FÜRSTE propelled the ball in goal after an elaborate combination perfectly executed. 

The Indian crowd had now adopted the German team and was roaring in ecstasy at each of their moves. With fatigue coming it, there was more space available and Germany were taking better advantage of it. They forced another penalty-corner, deflected high by Nathan BURGERS, and kept besieging the Australian circle, going through Australian defenders suddenly looking very tired. Australia were nevertheless awarded a penalty-corner on a confused action in the German circle and Luke DOERNER scored with a straight flick, tying in the process Taeke TAEKEMA at the top of the Goal Scorers list for the competition.

Maximilian MÜLLER forced a penalty-corner but the flick hit Nathan BURGERS straight on the helmet and the opportunity to level the score was lost. The last five minutes were played in a boisterous atmosphere. Tim JESSULAT kept his team in the game with two phenomenal saves in quick succession but a desperate final German push could not penetrate the circle and the Kookaburras could finally lift the World Cup trophy that had eluded them in the last two finals.

Match facts (Germany v. Australia):
> Australia win the world title for the first time in 24 years.
> Australia (2G-2S-2B) and Germany (2G-2S-2B) both collect a record 8th World Cup medal.
> Luke Doerner’s championship winning PC goal was his 8th at Delhi 2010.
> Luke Doerner and Taeke Taekema (NED) share the top goal scorer title this tournament (8 goals).
> Australia have scored a total of 27 goals to become the top scoring team at Delhi 2010.
> Australia’s 27 goals came from 15 FG, 11 PC and 1 PS.
> Australia and Spain have conceded fewest goals at Delhi 2010 (8).
> Germany have scored most PC goals at Delhi 2010 (13).
> Australia have been awarded most penalty corners (36)
> Ric Charlesworth (AUS) has now won the World Title as a player (1986) and as a coach (2010).

Game 37 – 3rd-4th – England v. Netherlands: 3-4 (half-time: 3-1)

The match for the Bronze Medals was between two teams that started well the competition in Delhi, but fizzled in their last games: England won 4 in a row before losing to Spain (0-2) then Germany in semi-final (1-4), while The Netherlands won their first three matches then drew with Germany (2-2), lost to Korea (1-2) and to Australia in semi-final (1-2), their longest non-winning streak in the World Cup since 1982.

This was the seventh game in two weeks for both teams and play started tentatively in the afternoon heat. England forced a penalty-corner but Ashley JACKSON, officiating since the injury to usual striker Richard MANTELL, could not slot his flick passed the Dutch runners. England had another chance by Barry MIDDLETON, very active in the attacking zone, however Guus VOGELS in the Dutch goal was never in real danger until the 11th minute when Richard ALEXANDER arrived alone in front of him and VOGELS needed to commit and meet him at the top of the circle.

The Dutch thought that they had opened the scoring in the 14th minute by Rogier HOFMAN, pouncing on an innocuous ball crossing the circle and eluding the English defenders, but the goal was denied after a referral to the video-umpire. England had three more penalty-corners in a row and tried unsuccessfully various options, with two of them stopped on the line by Geert-Jan DERIKX. The Netherlands finally took the lead in the 22nd minute by Teun DE NOOIJER, at the conclusion of an impressive penetration by Robert VAN DER HORST, but they had not finished celebrating that England was back level by Alastair BROGDON!

England finally scored on their 5th and 6th penalty-corners, Ashley JACKSON propelling first a low flick then a high one through the Dutch defense to establish a substantial two-goal lead going into half-time. The Netherlands of course immediately pushed forwards in second period, creating some good chances including a golden one for DE NOOIJER, alone in front of goal with the English defense in disarray but propelling his shot high in the crowd. England needed to work harder for a while after a yellow card to Alastair WILSON; they absorbed the pressure well until the 48th minute, when Taeke TAEKEMA reduced the Dutch deficit on penalty-corner, becoming in the process the second highest scorer in World Cup history with 21 goals.

The European Champions were going through a rough patch, struggling to contain the orange attacking waves and Klaas VERMEULEN finally tied the game with a ball from close range deflected by a defender out of reach of James FAIR in the English goal. The Dutch momentum was briefly affected by two green cards, giving a chance to Barry MIDDLETON to threaten Guus VOGELS, but the ball was soon monopolized again by the Dutch. They could not however find any space in the crowded circle and the score was still tied with five minutes to go. It took a desperate effort by Rogier HOFMAN in the 67th minute, pouncing on a ball mishandled by the English defense and finding some space to slot it in goal, to decide the game.

Soon the Dutch were celebrating their Bronze Medal, while the English were lying exhausted across the field, dejected to have let their half time lead slip away.

Match Facts (England v. Netherlands):
> Netherland claimed the bronze medal, beating England 4-3 as they did in their pool match at the 2006 World Cup.
> This is Holland’s best World Cup result on 8 years, since winning bronze in 2002.
> Netherlands are now on 7 World Cup medals, Germany and Australia will collect their 8th medal this tournament.
> England finish 4th, their best World Cup ranking since winning silver in 1986.
> Dutch captain Teun de Nooijer (1G-1S-2B) has equalled the record for most World Cup medals collecting his 4th medal in the competition. He joins Pakistan’s Akhtar Rasool (3G-1S-0B) (1971-1982).
> Taeke Taekema (NED) scored once to equal Ties Kruize’s total of 21 World Cup goals. Only all-time WC top scorer Paul Litjens (NED) has scored more WC goals (26 goals).
> Taekema has scored 8 goals at Delhi 2010.
> Ashley Jackson scored two PC goals to lift his Delhi 2010 total to 7 goals.
> England have lost their last three WC matches at Delhi 2010 going down to Spain (2-0), Germany (4-1) and Netherlands (4-3).

For additional information, pictures, video clips, official game sheets, and more, please check the special FIH event site @ http://www.worldhockey.org/worldcup/.

Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 (men) – Delhi, India
Results Day 13 - Saturday 13 March 2010

Final – Germany v. Australia  1:2 (0:1)
AUS   6mn  Edward OCKENDEN (FG)  0:1
GER  48mn  Moritz FÜRSTE (PC)  1:1
AUS  67mn  Luke DOERNER (PC)  1:2

3rd-4th – England v. Netherlands  3:4 (3:1)
NED  22mn  Teun DE NOOIJER (FG)  0:1
ENG  23mn  Alastair BROGDON (FG)  1:1
ENG  30mn  Ashley JACKSON (PC)  2:1
ENG  34mn  Ashley JACKSON (PC)  3:1
NED  48mn  Taeke TAEKEMA (PC)  3:2
NED  55mn  Klaas VERMEULEN (FG)  3:3
NED  67mn  Rogier HOFMAN (FG)  3:4

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

Player of the Tournament: Guus VOGELS (NED)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Guus VOGELS (NED)
Defender of the Tournament: Maximilian MÜLLER (GER)
Top Scorer: Luke DOERNER (AUS) and Taeke TAEKEMA (NED), 8 goals
Fair Play: New Zealand