Olympic champions made to sweat in HWL Semis in Johor Bahru
Germany – Korea 3-1 (1-0)
Germany have set up a meeting with Argentina in the tournament final of the World League round 3 event in Johor Bahru, Malaysia after overcoming a stern Semi Final challenge from Korea. Goals from Christopher Zeller, Linus Butt and Martin Zwicker gave the top ranked team a 3-1 victory in a match described by Germany coach Markus Weise as “super hard”.
The opening ten minutes of the match were closely contested, but Germany soon began to stamp their authority on the game. The reigning Olympic champions fired a warning shot across Korea’s bows when Christopher Zeller sent a penalty corner wide of the target in the 11th minute, but the legendary striker soon found his eye for goal. Germany’s second penalty corner of the game came in the 14th minute and this time Zeller made no mistake, flicking an unstoppable effort into the roof of Lee Myung Ho’s net. However, it would prove to be Germany’s only goal of the half, with the Koreans defending well whilst also looking extremely dangerous on the counter attack.
The second half was absolutely pulsating, with the game flowing from one end to the other at staggering speeds. The Korean team had raised their game considerably from earlier in the tournament, and showed on various occasions that they were capable of matching the world number 1 ranked team.
Korea dragged themselves level in the 60th minute thanks to moment of individual brilliance from Lee Nam Yong, who received a long pass in the circle and produced a wonderful spin to drag the ball around the keeper and into the goal. It was a goal that was well deserved, but that did not stop Germany from hitting back with a penalty corner from Linus Butt. Christopher Zeller’s initial flick at goal was blocked well by Lee Myung Ho, but the Germany star was on hand to snaffle up the chance from close range.
Germany scored a third in the final seconds of the match when Florian Fuchs set up Martin Zwicker for a tap-in, sealing Germany’s place in Sunday’s competition final. Korea will face England in the third place play-off, with a win guaranteeing them a place at the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague.
“It was a super hard game”, said Germany coach Markus Weise after the match. “We didn’t play our best and were suffering from some mental fatigue, but Korea really improved their form and it was tough.”Back