|Germany tops Australia
with a golden goal
at the 19th Mens Champions Trophy
A brilliant run in the pool matches wasnt enough to carry hosts Australia through to claim the Champions Trophy in the final, as Germany captured the weighty and impressive silver trophy with a golden goal four minutes into extra time. The two teams had played to a 2-2 draw in regulation during the final of the Mutual Community 19th Mens Champions Trophy, held in October in Adelaide.
Australia made an impressive romp through their five pool matches, collecting the maximum 15 points and outscoring their opponents by 14 goals. Germany finished pool action with 10 points from three wins, a draw and a loss. The loss came at the hands of the Australians, but the Germans exacted their revenge in the final.
Spain further cemented its position in the upper echelons of international hockey by claiming the bronze with a 2-1 victory over the Netherlands. Spain continues a run of strong showings in major tournaments which began with a silver medal in the Atlanta Olympic Games and a first place finish in the 9th Mens World Cup Qualifier in March of this year. The Spaniards third place finish in Adelaide is also an improvement on their fifth place showing in the 1996 Champions Trophy in India.
The Dutch, defending champions, certainly expected to make an appearance in the tournament final. But while they picked up seven points from two wins and a draw, their two losses in pool action to Australia and Spain destined them to play for 3rd 4th places.
Pakistan had what they considered a disastrous tournament, failing to win any of their pool matches and finishing with only one point from a draw with Spain. A finalist in last years Champions Trophy, Pakistan was relegated to playing in the 5th-6th playoff against Champions Trophy debutantes, Korea.
That Australia went from bottom to the top, almost, in the space of a year shows two things. That last years team that finished sixth was young and experimental the Aussies could afford to do that since they were automatically qualified for the 97 Champions Trophy as hosts. And that preparations are most definitely heating up for the 1998 World Cup, just five months away.
Sentiment among Dutch players in Adelaide saw them disappointed, but resolute and pragmatic. While they would have liked to bring the trophy right back home to the Netherlands, it was eminently better to expose their weaknesses now, some said, so they can address them before the World Cup, where they will play host to the world.
Pakistan in the meantime, is addressing its post-Adelaide doldrums before moving on with preparations for Utrecht. Part of the remedy has meant a change in team management. Islahuddin Siddiqui recently took over as manager from Dr. Tariq Aziz, and Ayaz Mahmood has been appointed coach to replace Jehanger Butt.
Of note: In a poll of selected journalists, David Wansbrough of Australia was named Player of the Tournament.
Results - 19th Mens Champions Trophy
Full scoring details, officials and final pool table can be found in the results section of this web site.