Spain captain Santi Freixa celebrates reaching the final
Spain captain Santi Freixa celebrates reaching the final
(Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

Spain continued their remarkable return to form with a superb 3-1 win over The Netherlands to set up a mouth-watering meeting against Australia in the final of the Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy. Goals from Edi Tubau, Roc Oliva and Gabriel Dabanch proved to be enough for a Spanish team that has come on leaps and bounds since their hugely disappointing 6th place finish at the EuroHockey Nations Championships last summer.

The result guaranteed Spain’s participation in the final even before New Zealand stepped onto the field for their match against Australia as the Black Sticks could no longer get enough points to secure a top two finish in Pool C. The contest between New Zealand was a classic Trans-Tasman encounter which was full of passion and commitment. A sell-out crowd of 3500 were vocal throughout the contest, but the Kookaburras maintained their 100 percent winning streak at this year's Champions Trophy with a 2-1 victory. 

Earlier in the day, Germany and Great Britain won their respective matches against Pakistan and Korea to ensure that they will contest Sunday's 5-6 classification match. The 5-6 game is hugely important as a win would guarantee a place in next year's Champions Trophy tournament. 

More information about the matches can be found below.  

 

Germany thrash Pakistan to reach 5-6 Play-Off game
Germany 5-0 Pakistan


European champions Germany were in outstanding goal-scoring form at the start of Day 5 here at the Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy in Auckland, New Zealand, cruising to a 5-0 win over Pakistan. Goals from Tobias Matania, Jan-Marco Montag, Benjamin Wess, Florian Fuchs and Benedikt Fürk ensured that Germany will play in the 5th place play-off game on Sunday.

Germany were well on top of the majority of the first half and deservedly took the lead when Tobias Matania sent a low penalty corner shot into the bottom right corner after 13 minutes. Their advantage was doubled in the 26th minute thanks to Jan-Marco Montag, who sent a ferocious penalty corner flick into the top right corner to leave Pakistan reeling.

Germany pressed their opponents deep into their own territory throughout the first half and continued their dominance in the second when Benjamin Wess rattled in a field goal seven minutes after the break to make the score 3-0. A fourth goal arrived in the 49th minute thanks to 2011 FIH Young Player of the Year nominee Florian Fuchs, who got a crucial touch on a pass from Timo Wess to find the bottom corner.

Eight minutes from the end of the game Germany completed the scoring, and what a goal it was. A failed Pakistan penalty corner was quickly turned into a counter-attack thanks to a great pass from Timo Wess to Fuchs who surged into the circle before passing to the unmarked Benedikt Fürk who gloriously chipped the ball over the oncoming keeper.

The result means that Pakistan will play in the 7th-8th play-off match. 

 

Pearn strikes late to give GB victory over Korea
Great Britain 4-3 Korea

Great Britain will play Germany in tomorrow’s 5th-6th place play-off match after sealing a 4-3 victory over Korea in an entertaining Pool D clash here in Auckland. Mark Pearn scored the winning goal with just two minutes of the match remaining shortly after Korea had tied the scores at 3-3 thanks to a penalty stroke from Hyun Woo Nam.

The winner of Sunday’s meeting between Germany and Great Britain will guarantee a place in the 2012 edition of the Champions Trophy. For Korea, the result means that they will face Pakistan in the play-off for 7th place, which also takes place on Sunday.

Great Britain - who went into the match knowing that a draw would be good enough to put them into the 5-6 Play-Off game - were arguably the better team in the early exchanges, but Korea grew in confidence as the match progressed and took a 31st minute lead when Hyo Sik You scored from close range.

Ashley Jackson and Barry Middleton both went close to levelling the scores early in the second half but were denied by Korea keeper Jae Hyeon Kim who produced some outstanding saves to keep his side ahead.

Star striker Jong Ho Seo made the score 2-0 in the 45th minute with a smart deflection at the near post before Great Britain deservedly pulled a goal back with a typical poachers goal from James Tindall.

The last ten minutes of the match were packed with drama. Great Britain pulled themselves level in the 60th minute thanks to a nicely worked penalty corner variation before Korea keepe Kim somehow let a weak James Tindall squeeze through his legs to give GB a 3-2 lead with four minutes remaining. Incredibly, Korea immediately won a penalty stroke which was expertly converted by Hyun Woo Nam, but a smart 68th minute finish from Mark Pearn ensured that Great Britain won the match and kept alive their chances of playing in next year’s Champions Trophy.  

 

Spanish resurgence continues with triumph over Dutch
The Netherlands 1-3 Spain

Spain continued their remarkable return to form with a superb 3-1 win over The Netherlands to set up a mouth-watering meeting against Australia in the final of the Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy. Goals from Edi Tubau, Roc Oliva and Gabriel Dabanch proved to be enough for a Spanish team that has come on leaps and bounds since their hugely disappointing 6th place finish at the EuroHockey Nations Championships last summer.

The result guaranteed Spain’s participation in the final even before New Zealand stepped onto the field against Australia as the Black Sticks could no longer get enough points to secure a top two finish in Pool C.

The Spaniards blasted out of the blocks at the start of the first half and took the lead inside two minutes when team captain Santi Freixa fed Edi Tubau who lashed home from a tight angle. Gabriel Dabanch almost made it two with a clever deflection but Netherlands goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann pulled off a fine save to keep the score to 1-0.

The Netherlands had some very good chances to equalise, with Roderick Weusthof coming the closest with a low penalty corner effort that was brilliantly cleared off the line by Spain defender Juan Fernandez.

Spain moved into a 2-0 lead in the 25th minute and again it was Santi Freixa who was the provider. Freixa’s perfectly weighted pass from midfield was beautifully finished by Roc Oliva, who touched the ball over Stockmann’s pads and into the goal.

The Netherlands pulled a goal back just before half time thanks to a field goal from Bob de Voogd, and the Dutch began the second half determined to grab an equaliser. They would surely have done so were it not for some high quality goalkeeping from Francisco Cortes, who made important saves from Rogier Hofman and Jeroen Hertzberger.   

The killer blow arrived in the 51st minute when Jose Carlos Ballbe worked his way into the circle from the right and set up the easiest of tap-ins for Jorge Dabanch to give Spain a 3-1 lead. The Netherlands rallied hard towards the end, but Spain defended their lead resolutely to confirm their place in the tournament final.  

 
Brave New Zealand beaten by Australia
Australia 2-1 New Zealand

New Zealand’s Black Sticks produced a magnificent performance in front of 3500 cheering spectators but sadly fell to a 2-1 defeat against Australia in the final match of the day here at the Owen G Glenn FIH Champions Trophy.  

The host nation entered the match knowing that it was already mathematically impossible to reach the tournament final following Spain’s victory over The Netherlands earlier in the day, but were extremely motivated to get one over the world number one ranked team on home soil. The crowd roared and cheered with every decision throughout as fascinating contest that saw long periods of domination from the Black Sticks, but in the end they could not get the result that they wanted.

Australia almost took the lead inside the ten minute mark when Tim Deavin hit the frame of the goal with a chipped effort from a tight angle before the Kookaburras netted the opening in the 14th minute. Des Abbott will go down as the scorer, but his cross was going wide of the target before taking a wicked deflection of a New Zealand stick and flying into the goal.

The Black Sticks hit back four minutes from half time and it was no more than they deserved. Nick Wilson showed a calm head in the circle to win a penalty corner that was gloriously slotted away by Andrew Hayward.

Australia almost took the lead just before half time when Eddie Ockenden cracked a rocketing reverse stick shot towards the top corner only for Kyle Pontifex to pull out a wonderfully instinctive glove save to maintain parity at the break.   

Aside from a fine shot from newly crowned FIH Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer, New Zealand dominated long spells of the second half but found no way through a solid Australian defence. Kookaburras keeper Andrew Charter made two stunning saves to keep his side alive before Australia scored what proved to be the winning goal in the 58th minute. Eddie Ockenden sent a cross from within the circle that was deflected into the goal via a New Zealand stick. It proved to be the last goal of the game, although the Black Sticks went agonisingly close to tying the scores with an overtime penalty corner which flew just wide of the target.

The Kookaburras have now won their last 13 Champions Trophy matches, which is the longest winning streak in Champions Trophy history.