Germany has thwarted the Kookaburras Olympic aspirations for gold with a clinical display of disciplined hockey at Riverbank Arena in London this today.
Australia will have the next four years to ponder what could have been after going down 4-2 in their semi final encounter after heading to London as overwhelming favorites.
With the World Cup, Champions’ Trophy and Commonwealth Games in the bag all that has eluded them during the past four years has been an Olympic trophy.
But as so often in the past, their quest ended short of the gold medal game – instead they will be playing for bronze on Saturday afternoon London time.
The defending Olympic champions did most of their damage in just nine minutes of hockey scoring three times to turn a 2-1 deficit into an unassailable 4-2 lead with just seven minutes of play remaining.
Games between the two powerhouses have traditionally been close and this today was no different.
The Germans discipline and strength was evident all over the turf, which put enormous pressure on the world No.1 to execute their trademark free-flowing attacking game.
The contest started at a frenetic pace with both teams fiercely defending their possession.
While the Europeans were happy to slow the pace down looking for a high striker, the Kookaburras were happy to run the ball as their main form of attack.
Germany’s tactics put pressure on Australia’s ability to transition the ball through the midfield at speed making scoring opportunities more difficult.
A disallowed penalty corner on the German side, following a successful Australian request for a video referral, left the Olympic champions distracted which opened the door for Kieran Govers to score Australia’s opening goal.
Moritz Furste struck back with a low penalty corner conversion to level the score 1-1 heading into half time.
Glenn Turner used his strength to pounce on a scramble in the goal mouth to put the Kookaburras ahead 2-1 just seven minutes into the second period.
Australia continued to attack but missed some good looks at goal.
A defensive blunder opened the door for Germany to equalize when Matthias Witthaus capitalized on a loose ball.
Just five minutes later a penalty corner conversion by Timo Wess put Germany in a strong position to progress to the gold medal game with Florian Fuchs sealing the Kookaburras fate with an opportunist shot from the field.
Australia never settled into a comfortable pattern and did not provide themselves with enough opportunity in the circle or from penalty corners to score.
If Australia is successful in winning bronze, it will be their fifth in Olympic competition with just one gold, in 2004, and three silvers.
Germany has won two gold, a silver and three Olympic bronze medals.
Olympic Semifinal Pool A (1) Australia v Pool B (2) Germany
Germany 4 (Moritz Furste 27 PC, Mattias Witthaus 54 FG, Timo Wess 59 PC, Florian Fuchs 63 FG) def Australia 2 (Kieran Govers 22 FG, Glenn Turner 42 FG)
Hockey Australia Press Release