FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023: It will be all European affair

Team Parvasi – Inside

The final of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup 2023 to be played at iconic Kalinga Stadium on Sunday will be a European affair. Former World Cup champions Germany stunned the pre-tournament favourites Australia with a last minute goal for its first entry into the gold medal round after its last title triumph at Monchengladbach in 2006.In fact, it had lost the 2010 World Cup final to Australia at Major Dhyan National Hockey Stadium in Delhi.

It was a nail biting finish as Germany, not only came from behind, but also fought a series of adverse Video Referrals that deprived it of three penalty corners and a stroke.

Germany had packed many surprises for the Australians today in a game that saw more than 20 penalty corners. And the hero of the German win was an Argentine, Gonzalo Peillat, who had migrated to Germany some years ago and after getting citizenship earned rights to represent his new country of abode in international hockey, including Olympics and World Cup.

Gonzalo Peillat, not only notched up a rare hat-trick in a World Cup semi-final but also the architect of the fourth and decisive goal. With just seconds left on the board, he sent a penetrating centre across the goalmouth that Nikolas Wellen deflected home to the great anguish of the Aussies. They contested the goal, asked for Video Referral, and unlike four of the previous VRs, mthis time, it was turned down and the goal was upheld. It brought to an end an absorbing encounter of vintage hockey with both teams refusing to give up. They fought tooth and nail and matched each other in every department of the goal. The Germans, however, had the anguish of getting most of its awards turned down by Video Referrals. They, however, did not allow these adverse decisions to affect their game.

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Australia took the lead in the 12th minute through a penalty corner conversion by Jeremy Hayward, one of the top penalty corner scorers of the tournament. Fifteen minutes later Nathan Ephmarus made it 2-0 with a brilliant field goal.

Trailing 0-2 at the breather, Germany refused to give up and continued to attack their opponents with venom, earning  five penalty corners in a row. It was the fifth such award in a row, and eighth in total that gave Gonzalo Peillat his first goal of the match. Subsequently, he converted two more, one in the 52nd minute and another in the 58th minute, to keep the Germans very much in the game. In between Australia got its third goal, through a penalty corner, but this time it came from the stick of  Blake Govers. Australia’s lead, taken in the 58th minute, however, did not survive for long as Gonzalo Peillat brought the teams at par. And when the game looked like heading for a penalty shootout, Gonzalo Peillat had a surprise for the Australians. His defence splitting centre  from the left flank found Nikolas Wellend waiting to deflect the ball home for a wonderful match winning goal that stunned the Aussies. The VR by Aussies did not help this time.

Prabhjot Singh


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