A breathless day of action in Poznan has decided the four teams that will play in the tournament Finals of the FIH Indoor World Cup 2011.
For the third successive year, Germany men will play host nation Poland in a repeat of the 2003 and 2007 Finals, while reigning champions The Netherlands and Germany, winners in 2003, will do battle for the Gold medal in the women’s competition.
Germany men were in sensational form in their Semi Final against Russia, with Matthias WITTHAUS and Oskar DEECKE at the top of their games in a crushing 10-0 victory. The Germans were ahead inside a minute when DEECKE netted the first of seven first half goals as the Russians struggled to cope the creativity, movement and breathtaking finishing from the double world champions. Arguably the goal of the game came from WITTHAUS, who slammed into the net from a seemingly impossible angle following a slick passing move which carved through the Russian defence early in the first half. The Germans were ruthless throughout, sending a clear message that they are firing on all cylinders ahead of Sunday’s Final.
The second men’s Semi Final, played between European champions Austria and host nation Poland, was played in an electric atmosphere. The huge crowd went wild when Michal RACINIEWSKI slammed in an early goal for Poland, before Austria’s Michael KÖRPER saw his penalty stroke effort saved by Mariusz CHYLA to maintain the advantage for the host nation. Poland captain Dariusz RACHWALSKI doubled the lead with a diving finish before Austria grabbed a goal just before half time from Philip GREUTTER to set up a tense second half. Austria gave it everything to get the goals they needed, but the Poland defence held strong until the hooter sounded the end of the game and sparked passionate celebrations in the stands.
The Netherlands were the first team to book their place in the women's Final when they comprehensively outplayed Belarus with a 7-0 win. The reigning world champions stormed into a 5-0 lead ahead of the half time hooter, with Karin DEN OUDEN, Marieke DIJKSTRA (2), Belle van MEER and Jolanda PLIJTER all getting on the scorecard. Belarus had a chance to reduce the deficit in the second half with a penalty stroke, but Alesia PIOTUKH’s poor effort was no trouble to Dutch keeper Adinda BOEREN. PLIJTER completed her hat-trick in the second game with two further strikes to round off a comfortable win for the Dutch.
The Netherlands were joined in the final by Germany, who defeated European champions Ukraine 6-2 to set up a mouth-watering Final between the winners of the two previous FIH Indoor World Cups (Netherlands – Vienna 2007 / Germany – Leipzig 2003). The victory was all but sealed between the 10th and 14th minutes, when Germany rattled in four goals without reply thanks to Rike SAGER (2), Natascha KELLER and Lisa HAHN. Ukraine hit back with two quick goals just before half time from Yana VORUSHYLO and Bohdana SADOVA, but the fight-back was effectively killed off at the start of the second half when SAGER completed her hat-trick before Dinah GROTE completed the scoring late on.
The Semi Finals were not the only matches that took place on Day 5, as the teams battled for the 5th to 12th classification places. On the men’s side, The Netherlands claimed 5th place with a 4-2 victory over England, with Robert TIGGES netting a hat-trick to take his tournament tally to 16 goals in just six games. Australia finished in seventh place with a comprehensive 7-4 win against Czech Republic, with Iran edging Canada 7-6 in a thrilling battle for 9th place. The USA grabbed 11th place with an 8-0 win against Namibia, who finished last.
Host nation Poland managed to achieve a superb 5th place finish in the women’s competition when they crushed Czech Republic 4-0 in their classification match, delighting the home crowd in the process. Paulina OKAJ scored a hat-trick as her team finished their tournament in style. A golden goal from captain Corinna ZERBS gave Austria victory over Australia to seal 7th place, while Argentina took 9th place with a 4-1 win over Namibia. The 11h – 12th place play-off between Kazakhstan and Uruguay was won by the South Americans who claimed a 3-1 triumph.
Sunday’s action at the FIH Indoor World Cup begins at 10.30 (GMT +1), with the 3rd place Play-Off matches being played ahead of the tournament finals. More information about the tournament, including match highlights of days 1, 2 3 and 4 can be found at www.poznan2011.sportcentric.com
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