HWL Final: India clinch bronze, Aussies win title
Bhubaneswar: Hosts India walked away with bronze medal at the Hockey World League Final in Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Sunday. However, Germany won hearts as they played with only 11 players. Six of the players in the German squad are suffering from high fever while one was injured during the match.
India took to a 2-1 triumph over Germany, thanks to SV Sunil’s excellent finish in the the 21st minute following a fine reaction save from Germany shot-stopper Tobias Walter.
Unbelievably, Germany drew level six minutes into the third quarter from the most unlikely of sources, with reserve goalkeeper Mark Appel lifting it over the onrushing Indian goalkeeper Suraj Karkera and into the net.
In the final, defending champions Australia clinched the title yet again, by claiming a 2-1 triumph over reigning Olympic champions Argentina.
The match came to life in the second quarter when Jeremy Hayward slammed a low penalty corner effort into the net to give reigning world champions Australia the lead, but it was an advantage that lasted that lasted less than a minute. Agustin Bugallo got the goal, finding space for himself before guiding a perfectly angled deflection into the Australia net.
Both sides came close to edging ahead in the third quarter, although Australia certainly had the best of those opportunities. Blake Govers missed a close range deflection before Eddie Ockenden’s instinctive strike rattled the crossbar.
The winning goal arrived three minutes before the end of the contest when Australia’s Blake Govers showed quick hands to find an Argentinean foot in the circle. The 21-year-old made no mistake with his drag-flick, finding the bottom corner of Juan Vivaldii’s goal to put Australia on the verge of victory.
Argentina threw everything at their opponents in the dying stages, winning a trio of penalty corners. However, the Australian defence held firm to win the Hockey World League title for the second successive time.
“It feels awesome. We wanted to come here and play the best teams in the world, and you cannot ask for a better final with the number 1 and number 2 ranked teams facing each other. Our team is moving in the right direction, and we are looking forward to coming back here for the World Cup next year,” Australia skipper Mark Knowles said.