Australia avenged its World Cup semifinal defeat as Germany could not find a way past Johan Durst and a packed defence to pull off yet another last minute miracle, losing 1-2 in its final FIH Pro League match here on Tuesday.
It was Australia’s only second win in the competition and the first here, riding on two first quarter goals in a space of three minutes and then some desperate defending in the second half. For Germany, it was its first defeat to Australia since the Tokyo Olympics, not helped by playing a second intense game in as many days.
Unlike its recent cautious outings, Australia started with an attacking game and reaped reward almost immediately, earning a penalty corner in the very first minute but had to wait for another 10 before getting its first goal, Jake Whetton dragging in a pass from James Collins just outside the circle and shooting past Danneberg. A PC three minutes later made it 2-0 as the Australians appeared to have finally decided to go back what has always been its strength – a direct, attacking game with little complexity.
Germany, on the other hand, maintained with their own structure – patiently building moves from the flanks and converging in the middle to try and score, holding possession and in the midfield and spreading far to maximise space usage. The scoreline barely reflected in their game plan as the Germans continued with diagonal field-cutting shots and short passes to create channels of upward movement and finally managed to get a PC, and a Gonzalo Peillat goal, in the 22nd minute.
The second half was similar but despite the pace and intense movement from both teams, the game was more a tactical experience than one of open, free-flowing hockey. There was a lot more circumspection and aerial balls to bypass the defenders but the goalkeepers stood firm.
Both teams had a couple of penalty corners each and occasional forays into the opposition circle but their defences stood firm and, after the initial setbacks, Danneberg and Durst ensured there would be no further goals scored. Germany continue to be fourth on the Pro League table while Australia, with two wins in seven games, are sixth.
The result: Australia 2 (Jake Whetton 11’, Jack Welch 14’) bt Germany 1 (Gonzalo Peillat 22’).