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Germany vs Australia in World Cup Hockey 2010 final

World and Olympic champions Germany outplayed European champions England 4-1 in the semi-final Thursday to set up their third consecutive World Cup final clash with Australia here.

The pre-tournament favourites Aussies played a fast-paced game to prevail over a fighting Netherlands 2-1 in the day's second semi-final outing at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

In the title battle Saturday, Australia will try to prevent Germany from running away with the Cup for the third time on the trot. If Australia win, it will be their second Cup victory, the first coming 24 years ago.

The Kookaburras dominated for the most part of the game and scored once in each half with Luke Doerner (27th minute) converting a penalty corner before Glenn Turner (55th) got a field goal to register their fifth consecutive win after going down to England in the opener.

Down 0-2, the Netherlands struck late through a penalty stroke that saw veteran Taeke Taekema (58th minutes) slam home to be on par with Doerner as tournament top scorers with seven goals. Turner has got one less.

The Aussies, who finished second to Germany in the finals of the last two World Cups, seemed on song from the start and could have won by a bigger margin had they not squandered several easy chances.

The Netherlands, on the other hand, looked dangerous till they conceded the second goal, but showed more resolve in the last few minutes after getting the reducer.

However, their attacks were somewhat blunted with playmaker Teun de Nooijer not at his best in the first half. He played better in the second session but missed a couple of chances.

After Australia went ahead 1-0 following Doerner's drag-flick, the Netherlands attacked repeatedly but failed to cut through the strong rival defence.

Australia doubled the margin as Turner showed his quick reflexes to score on the turn giving no chance to the Dutch custodian Guus Vogels.

The Netherlands made it 2-1 when a Taekema penalty corner came off an Aussie defender and the video umpire decided on the stroke following a referral sought by the Dutch.

In the earlier game, Germany scored through Jan-Marco Montag (6th) and Oliver Korn (11th) to take a 2-0 lead before Richard Smith (18th) converted a penalty corner to pull one back for England. Martin Haner (31st) slotted the third goal for Germany before the halftime.

Two times champion Germany (60th) added one more through Linus Butt and remains on course for a hat-trick of titles.

With the win, Germany also avenged their loss to England in the final of the European championship last year.

The young and inexperienced Germany played their best match of the tournament. The German defence stood like a rock with tight man-to-man marking, offering England no space and opportunity to maneouvre. Captain Maximilian Muller and Haner did a fine job in the deep defence.

The variations in set-piece conversions has been the highlight of the German team in the tournament. They pulled one more from their bag of tricks when Haner flicked the ball into the England goal after being beautifully set up.

England goalkeeper James Fair, put up a good show, but could do little to stop the powerful dragflick of Montag and ended up deflecting the ball into the goal that opened Germany's scoring.

Korn increased the lead deflecting a penalty corner into goal from a close range.

England stepped up the attack and Smith scored from one of them, pushing the ball into German goal. Haner then scored through Germany's fourth penalty corner.

(IANS)

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