(Photo: © Wolfgang Sternberger)

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Germany stormed to victory at the BDO Hockey World Cup with three unanswered second half goals overpowering Australia 4-3 in the final in Monchengladbach this afternoon.

In a stunning spectacle, Germany were simply unstoppable midway through the second half with three goals in nine minutes reversing a two-goal deficit.

With the win they become just the second team to win consecutive World Cups and the only nation apart from the Netherlands to win on hone soil. It also lifts them to the top of the Sahara WorldHockey Team Rankings ahead of Australia, Spain and the Netherlands.

Newly crowned WorldHockey Young Player of the Year Christopher Zeller was the dominant player, with a pair of brilliantly-crafted goals sparking his team.

A goal in each half for the 21-year-old gave him eight for the tournament and he was later named the most promising player of the World Cup.

Although they were without the services of player of the tournament Jamie Dwyer, Australia led by two goals soon after half time when it appeared the reigning Olympic champions and world number one had withstood the best of Germany’s attacking efforts.

As always in a major tournament, some good fortune is needed to achieve success and Germany had slightly the better of it during the final, with Zeller’s first goal taking a deflection and wrong footing Australian goalkeeper Stephen Mowlam, before Bjoern Emmerling’s second half effort floated over the Kookaburras custodian to bring the score to 3-3.

Then, with less than five minutes to go, Australia had a chance to force extra time but Luke Doerner’s drag flick hit the left post and rebounded to safety.

Germany coach Bernhard Peters said the win showed the great emotional strength of his team and that even when two goals down, he was confident they would come back.

Dual goal scorer Zeller also said that one of the best features of the German team was their ability to fight and overcome seemingly impossible situations.

Australia coach Barry Dancer pinpointed his team’s defensive lapses as a main reason for defeat, with loose marking in the circle and poor options coming out of defence creating huge pressure especially after half time.

Kookaburras captain Brent Livermore said at 3-1 up his team almost had one hand on the World Cup and he was at a loss to explain what had happened in that nine minutes of mayhem when Germany snatch the trophy from Australia.

In the bronze medal match, Spain scored a goal less than one minute into sudden death extra time to defeat Korea and achieve their third World Cup podium finish.

There were some anxious moments for Spain however as they conceded a two-goal second half lead to allow Korea to force extra time.

As was the case with their semi final against Germany, Spain was again the better team but this time they able to convert just enough of their chances to emerge victorious.

Korea, a surprising and welcome semi finalist, can be extremely pleased with their efforts – a second straight fourth place at the World Cup.

They were given little chance of making the top four at the start of the tournament but were able to withstand some tense moments to emerge as a contender to the establish band of hockey superpowers.

Japan finished the tournament on a winning note and took ninth place in the process after edging Argentina in a match that provided further evidence of their potential on the international stage.

An attractive style of play was combined with three tournament wins to lift Japan to their equal best-ever World Cup finish. With a group of players that are yet to reach their potential, Japan will be further improved when they contest their first Champions Challenge in six years in mid-2007.

Argentina were disappointing overall but the nucleus of their 2005 Junior World Cup-winning team gained valuable experience at major tournaments this year.

India’s one-goal victory over South Africa in the playoff to avoid last position also gave them the added bonus of a place in next year’s Champions Challenge in Belgium.

Unfortunately for South Africa, they have been relegated to the world hockey wilderness with the 2008 Olympic Games the next world-level event they will have a chance to compete at.

As could be expected in a clash between the two worst performed teams in the tournament, the match lacked fluency, but India had the greater number of scoring chances which they eventually transferred to the scoreboard midway through the second half.

Awards
Player of the Tournament: Jamie Dwyer (AUS)
Most Promising Player: Christopher Zeller (GER)
Best Goalkeeper: Ulrich Bubolz (GER)
Top Goal Scorer: Taeke Taekema (NED)
Fair Play Award: New Zealand