Final: Germany v Pakistan 2-0 (1-0)
Goals from Christopher Wesley and Florian Fuchs were enough to give Germany a superb and richly deserved 2-0 victory over Pakistan in the tournament final of the Hero Hockey Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar, India. A sell-out crowd witnessed the Germans claim their 10th Champions Trophy Gold medal, their first since 2007.
Germany controlled the majority of the first quarter and could easily have been ahead in the opening five minutes, with Christopher Rühr failing by a fraction to touch home a fierce cross into the circle before Florian Fuchs crashed a backhand shot wide of the right post after an impressive solo run.
The reigning Olympic champions continued to turn the screw in the second period and eventually were rewarded when Wesley touched home the opener from close range in the 18th minute. It really should have been Germany’s second goal, coming hot on the heels of a clear goal scoring opportunity being wasted by Mathias Müller with Tobi Hauke also missing a glorious chance ahead of the half time break.
Pakistan were forced to defend deep for long stages of the third quarter, but fought their way back into the game and began to assert some serious pressure on the German circle. However, the Germany’s defensive line – marshalled by imperious captain Moritz Fürste – held firm to take a slender advantage into the final 15 minutes of the match.
The Greenshirts had a fantastic opportunity to equalise when Shafqat Rasool showed fine skills to create an opening, but his cross somehow failed to be picked up by his two team-mates in front of goal before Rühr almost scored a magical solo goal for the Europeans ahead of full time.
Bronze medal match: Australia v India 2-1 (1-0)
Australia have claimed the Bronze medal at the Hero Hockey Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar, India, thanks to a 2-1 triumph over host nation India. Matt Gohdes hit the winner eight minutes from time to give the Kookaburras their 28th Champions Trophy medal.
Following their respective semi-final defeats at the hands of Germany and Pakistan, both sides started the game clearly determined to end their Hero Hockey Champions Trophy campaign on a high. The Kookaburras had the better of the early exchanges, although India’s Akashdeep Singh saw his promising strike sail wide of the target.
Australia captain Eddie Ockenden gave his team the lead early in the second quarter with a cool finish from close range following a smart exchange of passes with Jacob Whetton. India bounced back in typical fashion and created numerous chances, while goalkeeper PR Sreejesh produced some outstanding saves to deny the Aussies a second before half time.
India dragged themselves back into the match when Lalit Upadhyay forced home a penalty corner from close range following some fine defending from the Australian back-line. The goal drew wild celebrations from the watching capacity crowd, and set up a thrilling final quarter.
SV Sunil wasted a great chance for India before Gohdes produced a poachers’ finish to give The Kookaburras a 2-1 advantage with eight minutes remaining. India threw everything at their opponents int he final stages, but the Australian defence held firm to seal the Bronze medal.
Earlier, The Netherlands salvaged a fifth place finish with a 4-1 win over Argentina in Bhubaneswar, scoring four times in the final quarter to turn things around after trailing 1-0. England defeated Belgium 3-2 to claim seventh place, leaving the Red Lions in eighth place overall. It was a high octane battle with Florent van Aubel scoring his first on ten minutes, latching onto a loose finish to fire past George Pinner.
Player Award – Moritz Fuerste (GER)
Young Player Award – Akashdeep Singh (IND)
Goalkeeper Award – PR Sreejesh (IND)
Source material: FIH.CH
Photograph: Stanislas Brochier (c)