Champions Trophy Melbourne 2012
Melbourne, Australia - December 1 - 9, 2012


First semi-final set: Netherlands v. Pakistan

December 6, 2012
World #1 Germany out of medal hunt in Melbourne

Quarterfinal #2
Netherlands – New Zealand 2-0 (1-0 halftime)

After watching fellow European nation Germany fall in the quarterfinals, the Netherlands left nothing to chance, earning a 2-0 win against New Zealand and securing a spot in Saturday’s semi-finals. The victory means that the Dutch will go for their third-consecutive medal at the Champions Trophy and will finish in the top-four for the 25th consecutive time at the annual event.

The Netherlands was the clear favorite entering the game as the top seed out of Pool B and having only lost once in Champions Trophy history against New Zealand. Both teams made the Champions Trophy semi-finals last year as the game was a replay of the 2011 Champions Trophy bronze medal game, which the Netherlands won,

Jeroen Hertzberger gave the Dutch the 1-0 lead 13 minutes into the game when his flick easily found the back of the net on the second Netherlands penalty corner chance of the game. The teams went back and forth for the rest of the half with neither having any scoring success as the 1-0 lead endured.

The second half was much of the same until Billy Bakker finished a good breakout play to net the critical 2-0 goal. The marker gave the top-seeded Dutch some much-needed breathing room against the pesky and persistent fourth-seeded Black Sticks. After the goal, the Dutch played a game of cat and mouse, allowing New Zealand very few chances to get close to the net.

The Dutch have won bronze at the previous two editions of the Champions Trophy and have earned 21 total medals at the event. The third-ranked team in the FIH World Ranking has not played in the finals at the Champions Trophy since 2006, something they will look to remedy in Saturday’s semi-final against Pakistan. The last time Pakistan played in the final game was 1998.


Quarterfinal #1
Germany – Pakistan 1-2 (1-0 halftime)

Pakistan earned a spot in the 2012 Champions Trophy semi-finals after stunning defending Olympic Champion and World #1 Germany in a 2-1 decision in today’s quarterfinal. Is it the first time since 2004 that Pakistan finds itself in the hunt for a medal at the Champions Trophy. On the other side of the coin, this is the second consecutive time that Germany has missed the semi-finals at the annual event.

Shakeel Abbasi was the man of the hour for Pakistan. He fired in both Pakistan goals in the surprising win.

Pakistan was simply the better team in today’s game, generating more scoring chances and chipping away at the tough German defense, which found itself on duty for much of the 70 minutes. The Germans managed just one shot in the first half, but they made it count  as veteran Moritz Fuerste, one of only three players in Melbourne from the 2012 Olympic team, gave the Germans a 1-0 lead nine minutes into action.

Pakistan was not put off by the goal and maintained its pressure on the German net. Admittedly not all of the scoring chances were impressive, but it put Pakistan in a better position to get the odd penalty corner chance.

Pakistan’s persistence finally paid off when Abbasi scored a picture-perfect goal four minutes into the second half on a follow-up play after a penalty corner opportunity to even things up at one. Abbasi struck again with 20 minutes to go on in the half after he put in another second-effort goal after a penalty corner. The key goal went to video review, but it was ruled valid and Pakistan climbed out to its first lead of the game.

The lead endured through an action-packed 20 minutes as Germany found itself two men up in the last two minutes but unable to get the equalizer as Pakistan earned their semi-final spot.

Pakistan will take on the winner of the Netherlands vs. New Zealand match in Saturday’s semi-final.


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