It was a special day for Germany as their international indoor teams became double world champions at the FIH Indoor World Cup in Poznan.
A sell-out crowd of over 4000 people watched as Germany women stormed the Gold medal by defeating 2007 champions The Netherlands in an outstanding Final. Team captain Fanny Rinne scored twice for Germany as their regained the title that they won at the 2003 Indoor World Cup in Leipzig.
Germany’s Barbara VOGEL was named as Goalkeeper of the Tournament, with Netherlands captain Belle van MEER winning both the Player of the Tournament and Top Scorer award (11). Poland’s Paulina OKAJ was the popular winner of the Best Under-21 Player award.
The German men secured a third successive indoor title by defeating Poland, a team that has now finished as the runner up in all three FIH Indoor World Cups to date. The huge, passionate crowd cheered wildly as Dariusz RACHWALSKI and Tomasz GORNY fired the home team into a 2-0 lead, but Matthias WITTHAUS and Oskar DEECKE hit back to tie the scores and force the match into Golden Goal extra time. Eventually, the resilient Poland defence was broken when Benjamin WESS fired into the goal, sealing yet another Indoor World Cup for Germany.
Poland captain Dariusz RACHWALSKI was the deserving winner of the Player of the Tournament award, with his team-mate Mariusz CHYLA being named as the Best Goalkeeper. Netherlands striker Robert TIGGES finished as the top goal-scorer with 16 strikes to his name, while Austrian Patrick SCHMIDT was named Best Under-21 Player.
Earlier in the day, the women from the Ukraine sealed third after winning the Bronze Medal Match against Belarus, while Austria's men beat Russia in the Men's Bronze Medal Match.
More details about all the matches can be found at www.poznan2011.sportcentric.com
Men’s and Women’s Final reports
Women - Game 38 – Final – Netherlands v. Germany: 2-4 (1-2)
It was a dream Final for the 2011 edition of the FIH Indoor World Cup, with the two previous winners going head-to-head. Both teams cruised undefeated through the pools and convincingly won their Semi-Final here in Poznan.
After a few minutes of observation, The Netherlands opened the scoring, Kiki COLLOT d'ESCURY skillfully lobbing Barbara VOGEL in the German goal after turning around her defender in the corner of the circle and running along the back line. The Netherlands had a penalty-corner soon after but it was well defended. Adinda BOEREN in the Dutch goal had a strong intervention against Dinah GROTE but she could not much the next time the same GROTE arrived in the circle and managed to outplay two defenders.
Players on both sides were tense and play was not flowing easily. Stephanie FRENZ managed to pounce on a loose ball in the circle faster that the Dutch defenders and slot it past the keeper to give the lead to Germany. The Germans had most of the control of play at the end of the period and reach half-time with the narrow one-goal lead, but it was clear that the game could still go either way in second period.
It immediately went Germany’s way with a penalty-corner powerfully propelled by Fanny RINNE under the crossbar. She repeated the same feat a few minutes later to build a commanding three-goal lead with 15 minutes to go. The Netherlands reacted strongly and forced a lengthy period of domination. They had a golden chance on penalty-stroke, but Merel DE BLAEIJ’s attempt was saved by Barbara VOGEL, a turning point in this Final.
The Netherlands decided to replace their goal-keeper with an extra field player with ten minutes to go in the match, but the Germans could afford to sit tight in defence, compactly regrouped around Fanny RINNE. Kiki COLLOT d'ESCURY scored her second goal of the match, again from a narrow angle, to close the gap to 2 goals, and The Netherlands tried hard for the remainder of the match, but they ran of options and time. Germany patiently weathered the final Dutch rush and could soon celebrate their indoor world title with their fans.
German Coach Kais AL SAADI said "We tried to press The Netherlands very hard from the start to try to stop them playing. It worked very well for us and I am delighted."
Jost VAN GEEL, Coach of The Netherlands said "Congratulations to Germany. Barbara VOGEL did a brilliant job for them in goal. We had our chances and didn't succeed. They took their chances and that is their great strength."
Men - Game 38 – Final – Germany v. Poland: 3-2 (HT:1-2, FT:2-2)
For the third time in the short history of the Indoor World Cup, Germany and Poland met in the Final. They have clearly been the class of the tournament here in Poznan and met earlier in pool play in a thriller that ended in favour of the home team (3-2). Poland had to fend off a strong challenge from Austria in Semi-Final while Germany had an easy task to get past Russia.
The game started in a demented atmosphere in a packed venue of Polish fans chanting and waving flags. Their emotional rendition of the national anthem was enough to give you chill down the spine.
Germany had a few early chances by Christopher ZELLER (hitting the post) and Matthias WITTHAUS but it is Poland who opened the scoring when Dariusz RACHWALSKI entered the circle on the left and beat Nicolas JACOBI in the German goal from a narrow angle. Germany had a timid reaction but could not be dangerous for Mariusz CHYLA in the Polish goal. The Polish attack soon outplayed again the German defence and Tomasz GORNY slotted the ball in goal to establish a 2-0 lead.
The Germans regained their composure and closed the gap by Matthias WITTHAUS, receiving the ball in the circle with little space but still managing to get away from the defenders to score. With nerves settling down, the intensity and skill displayed by both teams was exceptional. Germany had a penalty-corner near the end of the period but scrambled it and Poland went into half-time with a narrow one-goal lead.
Intensity went up a few more notches in second period. Germany had most of the initiatives but were thwarted time after time by a phenomenal Mariusz CHYLA in goal. The crowd were on the edge of their seat when the Germans had the ball and were erupting in loud cheers when their team was attacking, led by their mastermind Dariusz RACHWALSKI.
Germany had a penalty-corner in the 32 minute, but it was shot high and wide by Matthias WITTHAUS, in an incredible cacophony. Oskar DEECKE scored for Germany on the next play, making the best of a ball received at the top of the circle with very little time to unleash his shot. Benjamin WESS had a chance a few minutes later but his ball rolled centimetres wide of the post, to a collective sigh of relief.
With the crowd on their feet, the last two minutes of regular play flowed wildly from end to end, with chances to clinch the winning goal for both teams. But time ran out on a tied 2-2 score, setting up the stage for dramatic sudden death overtime. Play started tentatively, with the players as nervous as the spectators. Christopher ZELLER scored but the goal was disallowed for a feet while the German were already celebrating. Tempers started to flare and Poland picked up a green card, opening some room for Benjamin WESS to score and earn the third Indoor World Cup for Germany.
“It was really, really close and we were lucky to win it even though we played well”, said Germany coach Markus WEISE. “It could have gone both ways. We have great respect for the Poland team; they played a superb tournament.”
Poland coach Karol SNIEZEK could not hide his disappointment, but was noble in defeat. “Congratulations to Germany. They played a fantastic tournament, probably better than us, I think. It was a fantastic game and I hope we meet again in the future to play some more beautiful hockey.”
More complete information about the tournament including reports and official documents can be found at www.poznan2011.sportcentric.com . Video highlights of Finals and Bronze Medal matches will also be available soon.
Final Standings and Awards
8. Czech Republic
Player of the Tournament: Dariusz RACHWALSKI (POL)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Mariusz CHYLA (POL)
Best Under 21 Player: Patrick SCHMIDT (AUT)
Top Scorer: Robert TIGGES (NED)
6. Czech Republic
Player of the Tournament: Belle van MEER (NED)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Barbara VOGEL (GER)
Best Under 21 Player: Paulina OKAJ (POL)
Top Scorer: Belle VAN MEER (NED)
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