Fri, 10 Aug 2012 00:07:32 GMT | By AP

Germany stuns Australia 4-2 to reach final

London: Germany will defend their Olympic field hockey title in the final after stunning world champion Australia 4-2 in Riverbank Arena on Thursday.


Germany stuns Australia 4-2 to reach final (© Reuters)

Australia came to London seemingly a sure bet as winners of the last four Champions Trophies and the 2010 World Cup, where Germany was beaten in the final. The Kookaburras had shown some vulnerability in draws with Argentina and Britain, but a formidable lineup headed by the game's best player, Jamie Dwyer, still finished the pool stage with the most goals and meanest defense.

The No. 2-ranked Germans never lost their confidence, however, even after going 1-0 and 2-1 down and having a brilliant solo goal by Oskar Deecke disallowed, much to the capacity crowd's displeasure. In fact, after Australia's second goal in the 42nd minute, the Germans dominated the rest of the fast-paced semifinal.

Germany will play for its fourth gold medal, second only to India's eight, in the final on Saturday against either the Netherlands or Britain.

Kieran Govers opened for Australia off a rebound, smashing in a volley that bounced under goalkeeper Max Weinhold in the 21st. Weinhold saved a penalty corner two minutes later, and Germany tied the score soon after off a penalty corner earned by Florian Fuchs. Moritz Fuerste, one of 10 Beijing gold medallists in the German squad, fired into the lower left corner.

The Glenn Turner put Australia back in front after the break, missing his first couple of attempts but pouncing on a rebound.

He, world player of the year Dwyer and company would have been expected to take command, but they faded for the third time in their last four matches, as Germany exposed them on the wings and finished their chances.

Even if they weren't all given.

A lob pass from the sideline was expertly taken in the circle on the stick of Deecke, who juggled it twice on the run with a defender on his back and pushed it over Australia goalie Nathan Burgers for an Olympic highlight score. But the umpires disallowed it for the ball being played at shoulder height.

The Germans refocused, and leveled six minutes later thanks to four-time Olympian Matthias Witthaus. Five minutes after that, in the 59th, they were in front for the first time in the match.

Timo Wess, who captained Germany to gold in Beijing and came back last year, scored from a penalty corner trick. Then Fuchs, the team's youngest member at 20, clinched it with a field goal in the 63rd, diving full length to divert a center pass.

Earlier, Pakistan twice came from a goal down to edge South Korea 3-2 to place 7th, and New Zealand finished 9th with three first-half goals in beating Argentina 3-1.