Bhubaneswar, 12 December 2014: Showcasing a rousing performance in the quarter-finals, Australia, 13-times reigning champions of the FIH Champions Trophy, are all buckled up to face the 2012 Olympic champions Germany tomorrow in an exciting semi-final clash of the Hero Men’s Champions Trophy 2014, to be played at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. The Kookaburras beat the FIH World Cup 2014 Bronze medallist Argentina 4-2 in the quarter-final and will face Germany, who defeated the Pool A leaders England, to reach the semi-finals.
Being the defending champions, Australia had a disappointing start in the tournament as they lost their first match to England by 1-3. After the defeat, they bounced back with their impressive performance in the next matches where they drew against Belgium by 4-4, followed by a win against Pakistan by 3-0. On the other hand, Germany kicked-off the tournament laudably with a win over host India but subsequently lost the remaining two league matches against The Netherlands and Argentina. The nine-time FIH Champions Trophy champions showed their spirited performance against England in the quarter-final yesterday and booked their place in the semi-finals. The two teams have recently met each other in the 2012 London Olympics where Germany toppled Australia in a nerve-wracking match with a score of 4-2 on the score-card.
For Australia, Chris Ciriello, Jacob Whetton and Jeremy Hayward will be the key player who will steer the team against Germany. Whereas, Germany’s Florian Fuchs who has been showcasing a good game of hockey throughout the tournament by materialising the scoring opportunities efficiently will be one of the most sought after player in tomorrow’s match.
Speaking ahead of the semi-final match against Australia, Germany Captain Tobias Hauke said, “Our game against India was in front of full crowd and hence was full of pressure. We did not play to our full potential in the first 3 matches, but we came back well yesterday against England. They are a strong team but we managed to win against them. For Australia we are confident, as we have beaten them 5 times in a row in the past. We are confident for tomorrow’s match and will give our best. I am impressed with all the strikers in my team and even the youngsters who have played exceptionally well.”
Excited about the upcoming match, Germany Coach Markus Weise said, “Our team has been playing very enthusiastically in all the matches. This time, we are more focussed and confident to face the opponents and to give them a tough challenge. We are taking previous matches as a learning lesson and are preparing ourselves accordingly. I am happy that the team has marched to the semi-finals and I look forward and expect a good game play from my team.”
Speaking on qualifying for the semi-finals, Australia Captain Eddie Ockenden said, “We played a good match yesterday and capitalized a lot of scoring opportunities into goals. Our centre of attention from hereon will just be the approaching game and we aspire to outclass the opponents leading towards the finals of this prestigious tournament.”
Looking forward to a win in the semi finals, Australia Coach Graham Reid said, “Tomorrow’s match is very crucial for us. We have been putting our best efforts in each and every match we play. The boys are geared up and fully prepared for the semi-finals to showcase a good game of hockey making full use of our strategies.”