Aussies book final berth

Kookaburras beat Germany 3-0, to take on Argentina for title

Aussies book final berth

Defending champions Australia made the most of a wounded and beleaguered Germany to storm into the final of the World League Final here on Saturday.

Able to field only 13 players after five of them fell sick overnight and one had returned home following injury suffered earlier in the tournament, the ravaged but determined Germans gave it their all but Australia proved too powerful, posting a 3-0 at the Kalinga stadium.

Germany, despite missing one-third of their squad, refused to take a backward step and started with their usual compact passing game. They launched their attack deep from their own quarter, were patient in build-up play and then tried to hoodwink a ball into the Australian third.

The Kookaburras, who share a fantastic rivalry with the Germans, were well aware of the ploy. While they were quick off the blocks, the defenders were spot-on with the marking, hardly allowing a German player to get a free shot. The Aussies also timed their runs upfront well, hardly getting sucked into the German trap of drawing them forward and then being hit on the counter. It was a classic beginning as both teams brought their best to the pitch, teasing each other in a tactical battle.  

 


Australia then tried to change things a bit in the second. They started to ask Germany the questions by lying deep in their own quarter and forcing them to come at them. The ploy was to catch Germany by surprise and then attack on the counter. The strategy was also loaded with danger as the Germans are extremely precise in their passing and can switch the tempo of a raid within the blink of an eye.

They almost made Australia pay with two circle penetrations, built on the back of some terrific changes and a wonderful final defence-splitting pass. But the Kookaburras went unpunished, thanks to the brilliance of goalkeeper and the goal post that stopped Dieter Linnekogel's rasping drag-flick.

World champions Australians also created chances of their own, the best coming when Lachlan Sharp stole the ball and dribbled past three German players before releasing it to an unmarked Aaron Kleinschmidt, who inexplicably shot wide midway in the second quarter.  

 

All the running then started to take a toll on the Germans and the Australians pounced on them when they began to tire. In the 42nd minute, Daniel Beale send a beautiful pass to Dylan Wotherspoon, who rifled home a powerful reverse hit. Six minutes later, Jeremy Hayward slammed the door with a successful penalty corner conversion.

Despite the double blow, Germany refused to give up. Out of gas and standing on one leg, they summoned all their energy and courage in hope staging a miraculous recovery. They even played the last seven minutes without a keeper and intensified their attack. Australia chose to just sit back and absorb the pressure, knowing they had a goal for the taking on the counter. That came through Daniel Beale in the final minute which sealed Germany's fate.

Results: Australia: 3 (Dylan Wotherspoon 42nd, Jeremy Hayward 48th, Daniel Beale 60th) bt Germany: 0.  

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