England shrugged off the disappointment of Saturday’s loss to India with an excellent team performance to secure a stunning 4-1 victory over Olympic champions Germany at the Champions Trophy in Melbourne on Sunday. England Assistant Coach Bobby Crutchley described the outcome as “just desserts for sticking rigidly to a game plan.”
England’s inexperienced side took their chances and were never behind in the match which was littered with cards, including four greens, four yellows and a red card for Germany’s Niklas Grell (below, wearing 25).
Beeston pair Adam Dixon and Harry Martin gave England the early impetus with two goals in the opening ten minutes. Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles’ Richard Smith was unlucky to see the ball bounce off his stick and into his net to give Germany a goal back soon after. Smith’s misfortune was cancelled out at the other end shortly before half time when Loughborough Students’ Henry Weir forced Mats Grambusch into scoring an own goal.
Leading 3-1 at the break, England defended well in the early stages of the second half before Grell’s red card, shown by Australian umpire David Gentles for two yellow card offences, barging English players. England worked hard to extend the lead and a powerful surge from Dixon down the right set up Reading’s Darren Cheesman to sweep home in front of the near post to score his first goal for England nine minutes from full time.
England had never before beaten Germany at the Champions Trophy and indeed had only recorded three wins in their previous 20 attempts to defeat the Germans, a run stretching back six years. The Pool A clash pitted the two youngest teams at the tournament against each other with Germany also fielding a new look side with many of their Olympic gold medal winners not making the trip to Australia.
Speaking afterwards, Bobby Crutchley, Assistant Coach to Jason Lee, said: “We got our just desserts for sticking rigidly to a game plan. Whilst the Germans always looked dangerous going forward I thought our defensive unit was excellent. We took our chances today and that made all the difference.”
Also in Pool A, table toppers India continued their excellent start to the tournament with a 4-2 win over New Zealand. That result means England sit second in the Pool A standings, ahead of Germany on goal difference, going into the final pool fixture.
In Pool B, Australia and the Netherlands had to settle for a share of the spoils from a 0-0 draw while Pakistan beat Belgium 2-0.
Read the full match report in the International Results section.