Witthaus, Wess and Fuchs condemn Kookaburras to bronze medal match
Australia vs Germany 2-4 (half-time: 1-1)
Germany produced a scintillating second half display to fully merit their Olympic men's final berth, finding their most fluid hockey of the tournament to gain a modicum of revenge on Australia. Trailing 2-1 after 43 minutes, Germany bossed Australia in a manner unseen in the tournament to date with Matthias Witthaus, Timo Wess and Florian Fuchs picking off a trio of delightfully crafted goals.
Pre-match, the European side came in with plenty of scores to settle, chief among them the 2010 World Cup final defeat and they appeared to initially cope well with the Aussies’ forceful, high press. Christopher Zeller looked in the mood. His powerful run left Joel Carroll in his wake while Kieran Govers and Matthew Swann also attempt to stall his run.
It sent the striker sprawling with a corner initially given before the video review confirmed the foul took place outside the circle. But he was the first to have a drag at goal as friendly fire clattered Matthew Butturini’s foot. Nathan Burgers stopped it well, clipping it away from the in-rushing Matthias Witthaus. The kookaburras hit the front, however, in the 22nd minute off the back of Glenn Turner’s brilliant incision. His thumping shot bounced up off Weinhold but Hamish Jamson held his whistle well and Govers walloped the ball through the German goalkeeper’s legs as he scrambled to try and block.
Sweet Eddie Ockenden and Jamie Dwyer touches almost yielded a second but Weinhold saved from Chris Ciriello – playing his 100thinternational – as well as from Govers from corners. Sandwiched between those efforts was the equaliser, Moritz Furste nailing a low corner bullet in the 26th minute, a goal that ensured parity at the half-time break. It was a pulsating battle, played at an incredible tempo throughout and this manner continued into the second half.
Glenn Turner restored the lead in the 43rd minute as a right-wing cross got hammed in Weinhold’s pads, Turner fished it out for Ockenden to slap back into the mix and the striker duly gobbled up his fourth of the campaign. The response, though, was immaculate. Oskar Deecke was denied one of the goals of the tournament by mere centimetres on a video referral when Oskar Deecke’s lob was controlled at waist-high and popped up and over Nathan Burgers’ shoulder without hitting the deck. His third touch was the one that denied the breath-taking moment, connecting just over shoulder height.
His side were level when Matthias Witthaus swept home from the right as Tobias Hauke’s pint-point pass in the 54th minute, rewarding a period of encampment in Aussie territory. And when a video referral worked in their favour to win a corner four minutes later, Timo Wess pushed home his first goal of the tournament off the back of Zeller’s spin-switch.
Then, the crowing glory. Australia, behind in a game for the first time in the tournament, pressed for an equaliser but could only find a brick wall of defenders. Hauke dispossessed them on his own penalty spot, starting a 90 metre move that set Benjamin Wess free on the left. Florian Fuchs hared forward the length of the pitch to slide onto his cross and win it with seven minutes to go.
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