Wimbledon’s Rob Moore celebrated his 200th international appearance with the winning goal against Germany in the Rabo Four Nations Cup on Saturday. The 30 year old’s deflection over the goalkeeper with two minutes remaining was the icing on the cake after England had twice come from behind. Bowdon’s Alastair Brogdon had earlier equalised a Thilo Stralkowski opener before Iain Mackay also found the net to cancel out Oliver Korn’s goal on a day of milestones. On his 50th appearance for England, the Reading midfielder’s pass across goal was turned in by a Germany defender.
The result put England in with a chance of winning the tournament but they await the outcome of the Netherlands’ match with Pakistan.
Just as Head Coach Jason Lee had called for following Friday’s 2-2 draw with the Netherlands, England’s men went the extra yard to secure a 3-2 win over Germany in their final match at of the tournament. And once again they showed good resolve to twice come behind before Moore netted the winning goal two minutes from the end.
It was a replay of the 2009 European Championships final and once again England came out on top of what was a largely even encounter. England were required to reshuffle the pack shortly before the match began when Beeston’s Ali Wilson aggravated his knee in the warm up. Wilson had been due to start but missed out having taken a shot to the inside of the knee against the Netherlands on Friday; Wimbledon’s Ben Hawes replaced him.
A cat-and-mouse opening spell came to life when Germany won their first penalty corner and Thilo Stralkowski drilled his shot low to Brothers’ right. The Reading goalkeeper got his stick to the ball but could not keep it out as Germany took the lead.
England’s equaliser when it came was the result of superb flowing move the length of the pitch. Ken Forbes’ 30 yard pass was aimed at Mark Pearn and the East Grinstead front man let it run into the circle where Bowdon’s Alastair Brogdon latched onto it at pace. The 23 year old’s touch took the ball over the advancing goalkeeper and into the net to make it 1-1 with three minutes to the break.
Germany began the second half the stronger as England defended deep but when Oliver Korn put next month’s European hosts back in front there was still an element of surprise about it. What looked to be a harmless ball into the English circle was deflected up towards Nick Brothers at an awkward height and the goalkeeper could do little more than block it. As the ball bounced down to where Korn was standing a scramble occurred before the Germany gained control and trickled his effort over the line.
Twice already in this tournament England have had to rally from 2-1 down and they did again, threatening with lightning quick breaks that forced several saves before Reading’s Iain Mackay made it 2-2 on his 50th appearance for England. Dribbling along the baseline from right to left Mackay’s pass across the face caused all sorts of trouble as it bounced off a German defender and into the goal. With the final touch coming from the defender, Mackay was credited with it and England were level with more than 20 minutes remaining.
End-to-end hockey meant that both sides looked as if they could snatch victory late in the game; Surbiton’s Richard Alexander was among those that went closest while at the other end, Brothers pulled off a good save to his left at a penalty corner.
With just two minutes remaining, in a move similar to that which set up Brogdon in the first half, Rob Moore netted England’s winning goal on his 200th international appearance. On the occasion of his 137th match for England [he has also played 63 times for Great Britain], the 30 year old got ahead of his marker to deflect a smashed pass beyond the goalkeeper and into the net for 3-2.
Team Manager Andy Halliday said afterwards, “It was a good win. Some people are talking about using this tournament as preparation for the European Championships in August but for us it is about getting into that winning mentality more regularly.”
The result was enough to put England top of the table with the Netherlands and Pakistan set to meet later in the afternoon. The outcome of that match could hand England the trophy. If Pakistan win, or the match is drawn 0-0, 1-1 or 2-2, then England take the title. A 3-3 draw would require England and the Netherlands to take part in a penalty shoot out to determine the winner while a Dutch win or a draw of 4-4 or more would give the hosts the crown.
England return home to continue their busy international summer with two matches against Egypt late next week before hosting The London Cup the following week. Tickets are still available for supporters to see some of the country’s top Olympic players in action against New Zealand, Korea and Belgium from 12-16 July. Tickets can be bought online from www.englandhockey.co.uk/thelondoncup or from the ticket hotline on 0844 499 3222.
GERMANY 2 (1)
Thilo Stralkowski 23 (PC)
Oliver Korn 38 (F)
ENGLAND 3 (1)
Alastair Brogdon 32 (F)
Iain Mackay 49 (F)
Rob Moore 68 (F)
Rabo Four Nations Cup Schedule (revised)
Local Time - BST - Fixture
Wednesday 29 June 2011
17:30 - 16:30 - England v Pakistan
20:00 - 19:00 - Netherlands v Germany
Friday 1 July 2011
17:00 - 16:00 - Germany v Pakistan
19:30 - 18:30 - England v Netherlands
Saturday 2 July 2011
15:00 - 14:00 - Germany v England
17:30 - 16:30 - Netherlands v Pakistan
Rabo Four Nations Cup Table
1. England (3 matches, 5 pts)
2. Netherlands (2, matches, 4 pts)
3. Germany (3 matches, 3 pts)
4. Pakistan (2 matches, 1 pt)
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