Champions Trophy: Spain to meet Australia in finalDecember 10th, 2011 - 5:14 pm ICT by IANS
Auckland, Dec 10 (IANS) Spain continued their remarkable return to form with a superb
3-1 win over The Netherlands Saturday to set up a title clash with Australia in the final of the Owen G. Glenn FIH Champions Trophy hockey.
Goals from Edi Tubau, Roc Oliva and Gabriel Dabanch proved to be enough for a Spanish team that has come on leaps and bounds since their hugely disappointing 6th place finish at the EuroHockey Nations Championships last summer.
The result guaranteed Spain’s participation in the final even before New Zealand stepped on to the field for their match against Australia as the Black Sticks could no longer get enough points to secure a top two finish in Pool C.
The contest between New Zealand was a classic Trans-Tasman encounter, full of passion and commitment. A sell-out crowd of 3,500 were vocal throughout the contest, but the Kookaburras maintained their winning streak at this year’s Champions Trophy with a 2-1 victory.
Earlier in the day, Germany and Great Britain won their respective matches against Pakistan and Korea to ensure that they will contest Sunday’s 5-6 classification match. The 5-6 game is hugely important as a win would guarantee a place in next year’s Champions Trophy tournament.
The Spaniards blasted out of the blocks at the start of the first half and took the lead inside two minutes when team captain Santi Freixa fed Tubau who scored home from a tight angle. Gabriel Dabanch almost made it two with a clever deflection but Netherlands goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann pulled off a fine save to keep the score to 1-0.
The Netherlands had some very good chances to equalise, with Roderick Weusthof coming the closest with a low penalty corner effort that was brilliantly cleared off the line by Spain defender Juan Fernandez.
Spain moved into a 2-0 lead in the 25th minute and again it was Santi Freixa who was the provider. Freixa’s perfectly weighted pass from midfield was beautifully finished by Oliva, who touched the ball over Stockmann’s pads and into the goal.
The Netherlands pulled a goal back just before half time thanks to a field goal from Bob de Voogd, and the Dutch began the second half determined to grab an equaliser. They would surely have done so were it not for some high quality goalkeeping from Francisco Cortes, who made important saves from Rogier Hofman and Jeroen Hertzberger.
The killer blow came in the 51st minute when Jose Carlos Ballbe worked his way into the circle from the right and set up the easiest of tap-ins for Jorge Dabanch to give Spain a 3-1 lead. The Netherlands rallied hard towards the end, but Spain defended their lead resolutely to confirm their place in the tournament final.
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- Olympic hockey: Valiant Indians go down 2-3 to the Netherlands (Lead) - Jul 31, 2012
- Australia beat Pakistan via golden goal to win Azlan Shah Cup - May 16, 2011
- Ritu to lead India in Champions Challenge 1 - Sep 10, 2012
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- Spain rally to outsmart South Africa 4-2 (Lead) - Feb 28, 2010
- Olympics hockey: India go down 2-3 to the Netherlands - Jul 30, 2012
- Asian Champions Trophy: India rally to draw 2-2 against Malaysia - Sep 07, 2011
- India beat South Africa 4-2 to enter Champions Challenge final - Dec 03, 2011
- Champions Trophy: Australia beat Pakistan 6-1, NZ hold Netherlands 3-3 - Dec 06, 2011
- India go down to Netherlands 3-6 in Hamburg Masters hockey - Jul 03, 2010
- Olympics hockey: India crushed 1-4 by South Korea - Aug 05, 2012
Tags: black sticks, champions trophy hockey, deflection, fih champions trophy, goalkeeper, hockey goals, jaap, juan fernandez, kookaburras, leaps and bounds, oliva, pool c, remarkable return, santi freixa, spaniards, spanish team, stockmann, title clash, trans tasman, winning streak