Germany eye hat-trick, Australia the title after 24 years


New Delhi : A win away from a title hat-trick, a young German side will be looking for another clinical display in the Hockey World Cup Saturday to get past the well-drilled Australians whose lone triumph came 24 years ago.

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Beginning with a shock 1-4 defeat to England, pre-tournament favourites Australia have won five matches on the trot to reach the final and hope to be third time lucky against Germany, the 2002 and 2006 winners.

The Australians have been the most prolific scorers in the tournament, striking as many as 25 goals, including a record 12-0 against South Africa.

The Australians have been well served by their penalty-corner expert Luke Doerner who has converted seven set-pieces to emerge the tournament’s top scorer alongside the Netherlands’ Taeke Taekema. Glenn Turner(6) and Jamie Dwyer(5) have been the other principal goal getters for Australia, who went down 3-4 and 1-2 in the last two finals against Germany.

However, Aussie coach Ric Charlesworth is confident the final this time round will be different.

“This team has a completely different history as compared to the last two sides that lost the last two World Cup finals. This team has a lot of potential and will create its own history.”

Olympic champions Germany, on the other hand, came with an inexperienced side, but improved with every match. They were held 2-2 by Korea in the opener, but then won three back-to-back games before finishing with another 2-2 draw with the Netherlands to reach the semi-final as the top team in Pool B. In the semis, they outplayed European champions England 4-1.

The world’s number one side has played methodically, building up pressure slowly on the opponents to choke them into submission. Their penalty-corner conversions have been lethal, with a dozen goals coming from the set-pieces.

Besides the seasoned Matthias Witthaus, the youngster Forian Fuchs has played a leading role in the German campaign. The 18-year-old Fuchs has been their main scorer with four goals.

German coach Markus Weise said: “Any team playing in the final will pose a big challenge.”