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 September 5, 2002 | 2205 IST

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Germany down Australia
with late goals

Ivan Crasto

Germany 3 - Australia 2
Holland 4 - Korea 2

Two goals in a frenzied attacking spell three minutes from the end enabled defending champions Germany to beat Australia 3-2 and maintain their unbeaten run in the men's Champions Trophy hockey tournament in Cologne, Germany, on Thursday.

The victory also assured the World champions of a place in the final on Sunday.

In the other match of the day, Olympic champions the Netherlands easily beat Korea 4-2 to virtually assure themselves a place in Sunday's final.

The result means India are virtually out of contention for a place in the final. In the event of the Netherlands losing to Germany in their concluding match on Friday, India will have to beat Korea by a very handsome margin to better the Dutch's goal difference, which now is +9 compared top India's +1.

For Olympic runners-up Australia, it was their fourth successive defeat despite calling the shots right through the match. In fact, the scoreline belies the plucky performance put up by the Australians. Had it not been for a superlative display by German goalkeeper Clemens Arnold, the boys from Down Under would have walked off the field with a handsome victory.

Germany made the early running and had the Aussie defence in disarray. A free hit from just outside the striking circle gave them the lead in the 11th minute as Sascha Reinelt trapped the ball in front of the goal on the right and flicked to the roof of the cage to make it 1-0.

But the Aussies, having lost all the three matches they had played before this, were not ready to taste defeat again. They settled down, got organised, and stormed the German goal time and again. But each time they splintered into the circle and took a shot at goal, Arnold brought off some splendid saves.

But Arnold was left standing in the 27th minute as Jamie Dwyer turned around from a scrimmage and, with his back to the goal, found the far corner of the net with a crisp reverse hit.

The story was the same in the second session, as the Germans, surprisingly, showed neither the consistency nor the teamwork needed to put together a decent move. And even when they did manage the occasional foray into Aussie territory, they surrendered the ball tamely.

Australia went ahead for the first time in the match in the 58th minute off their fifth penalty corner when Andrew Smith sounded the board with a rasping drive, after Paul Gaudoin faked his flick (2-1). They looked on course for their first victory in the tournament till five minutes from the end when the Germans threw caution to the wind and put all men into attack.

A counter offensive in the 67th minute saw Germany draw abreast. Oliver Domke used Bjorn Michel as a wall to beat the advancing Aussie defenders and tap home past a hapless Mark Hickman to draw level 2-2. Till then Hickman had not been called upon to do anything out of the ordinary.

The goal was a shot in the arm for the Germans, who sprang to life. They were all over the Aussies in the last minute as Sebastian Bierderlack made his way to the back line and passed the ball back for Matthias Witthaus, who swung it towards goal. Christian Wein flung himself forward and deflected the ball home to make it 3-2.

In the second match of the day, Holland proved too good for South Korea. They established a two-goal lead within ten minutes from the start and were always in control of the proceedings.

The victory put them in second position behind Germany. The two teams meet on Friday, while India take on South Korea.

Taeke Taekema opened the account in the second minute from a penalty-corner while Bram Lomans made it 2-0, also from a penalty-cormer, in the eighth minute.

Keon Wook Kang pulled one back for Korea with a field goal in the 15th minute.

But Taekema converted a penalty-stroke in the 52nd minute even as the Koreans fought back spiritedly.

Three minutes later Woon Kon Yeo further reduced the margin for the Koreans from a penalty-corner, but Lomans converted Holland's second penalty-stroke of the match in the 58th minute to put the issue beyond doubt.

Day 1: Holland hold India with late goal
Day 2: India go down fighting to Germany
Day 3: India shock Australia
Day 4: Pillay, Chauhan star as India beat Pakistan

Champions Trophy 2002: The Complete Coverage