Reigning World champions Australia will face European champions the Netherlands in the semi-finals of the Hero Hockey World League Final 2015 following the completion of the first two quarter-finals on Wednesday in Raipur, India.
Defending champions and Pool B winners the Netherlands became the first team to qualify for the semis, but were given a stern test by a Canada team that produced their best performance of the event.
Canada’s Red Caribous, who finished fourth in Pool A, made life extremely difficult for the European giants, who eventually emerged victorious with a 2-0 triumph thanks to goals from Constantijn Jonker and Roel Bovendeert. The Canadians had numerous chances of their own, but could not find a way past Netherlands goalkeeper Pirmin Blaak.
“The Canadians did very well out there, and I am very happy with the win because they had some good opportunities and our goalie was amazing today”, said Netherlands star Seve van As. “They are a tough team and they deserve to be here at the Hero Hockey World League Final, so I am really happy that we won.”
Australia claimed a 4-1 win against Olympic champions Germany in the second match of the day to set up their semi-final showdown with the Dutch. The game will be a replay of the competition final at last year’s Rabobank Hockey World Cup, where Australia triumphed 6-1 in The Hague.
Clinical strikes Jeremy Hayward and Jamie Dwyer gave the Kookaburras a 2-0 lead at the end of the first quarter, while Germany wasted a big chance to reduce the deficit early in the second period when Oskar Deecke saw his penalty stroke saved by Australia’s Andrew Charter. It was a costly miss, with Australia taking a 3-0 lead into half time thanks to Matthew Dawson’s low, accurate penalty corner drag-flick.
Germany threatened a comeback when 2013 FIH Young Player of the Year Christopher Rühr volleyed home in the third quarter, but Glenn Turner added a fourth late on after Die Honamas replaced goalkeeper Nico Jacobi with an outfield player in an attempt to rescue the game.
“The Germans are a great team and historically it is always a tough match between Australia and Germany”, said Kookaburras defender Matthew Swann after the match. “When we get the chance to play them we always want to play our best, and we were happy to get away with a win. It could have been a lot closer but our defenders were really desperate in the circle and it made it very hard for them.”
“We have struggled throughout the tournament to take our chances”, said Germany striker Christopher Rühr. “On the two early goals that Australia scored, we defended badly. It wasn’t planned this way.”
The competition quarter-finals continue on Thursday 3rd December, with Pool Great Britain taking on host nation India before Pan American champions Argentina play Belgium.
Results – Day 6
Netherlands 2, Canada 0
Hero Man of the Match: Mark Pearson (CAN)
Australia 4, Germany 1
Hero Man of the Match: Tim Deavin (AUS)
To see the standings, click here.
Photo: FIH / Getty ImagesBack