England fall to Germany in crucial Quarter Final

Ashley Jackson flicks for goal in the CT2014 match with Germany.

After topping Pool A, the Quarter Final stage of the 2014 Champions Trophy ended in bitter disappointment for England as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of the world number three side Germany. Playing with two fewer outfield players following a bout of sickness in the squad, England conceded two goals in the closing moments of the second and fourth quarters; Captain Moritz Fürste and Christopher Rühr scoring a goal each to take their side into the Semi Finals. England will now face Argentina on Saturday at 0600 [subject to FIH scheduling] as they battle it out in the fifth to eighth classification matches.

Earlier in the day Australia booked their place in the Semi Finals with a 4-2 victory over Argentina and in the first game of the day Pakistan pulled off the shock of the tournament beating Pool B winners and world number two side the Netherlands 4-2 to claim their top four place.

ENGLAND 0 (0) 

GERMANY 2 (1)

Moritz Fürste 30 (PC)
Christopher Rühr 58 (FG)

Germany forced a series of penalty corners in the opening quarter of the match but a combination of good defending from Dan Fox and some outstanding goalkeeping from FIH Goalkeeper of the Year nominee George Pinner kept the scores level as they denied Moritz Fürste on four separate occasions. England’s best chances came from a Sam Ward deflection which flashed just wide of the post and a Nick Catlin reverse stick strike that flew over the bar when the Holcombe man might have had more time than he realised.

England started brightly in the second quarter. Catlin and skipper Barry Middleton swapped passes and opened up the German defence but they were unable to get the shot away. Catlin had another reverse stick effort deflected over the bar but it was Germany who went into the break in the ascendancy. Fürste finally got the better of Pinner with a rocket penalty corner into the roof of the net to make it 1-0.

The third quarter was nip and tuck as the two sides battled for the all-important next goal. Jackson couldn’t quite set up Ward in the opening exchanges and at the other end Pinner was called upon to keep out Florian Fuchs and former East Grinstead player, Mats Grambusch also went close. The half ended with a yellow card for Timur Oruz for a foul on Jackson, meaning the Germans would start the final 15 minutes a man down.

England went all out in the final quarter to rescue the game but Nicolas Jacobi stood firm to glove away a Jackson penalty corner with Mark Gleghorne unable to get the rebound under control. The same two players went head to head again with another penalty corner but with Jackson this time going low, Jacobi was up to the job once again, getting a foot to the ball to keep it out. With two minutes left on the clock, Germany sealed the win. Grambusch found some space in the circle and cut it back across goal where Christopher Rühr pounced to lift the ball over Pinner to send Germany into the semi-finals.

Speaking after the match England Team Manager Andy Halliday explained the reason for England being two outfield players down during the game: “David Condon and Chris Griffiths have both been suffering from sickness over the last 24 hours and neither were able to leave the hotel today. It’s extremely frustrating because we have been meticulous in taking every precaution to try and prevent illness throughout the trip.”

England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley
On the result and the performance:
“We’re very disappointed with the result, I thought we lacked our normal high intensity out there today. Maybe playing with two fewer players affected that, however we are not looking to make excuses for the overall outcome. We controlled possession for good periods of the game, but came up against a resolute German defence and a team that always threaten on the counter attack. We still created corner opportunities and chances, but today were unable to convert them into goals.”

Looking ahead to Argentina: “We now need to regroup and with a rest day tomorrow we can recover and recharge our batteries and hopefully be back up to full strength for Saturday’s game against Argentina where we will be looking to reverse the score line from our defeat back in June at the World Cup. They are a side who are always strong on the counter attack and they defend with numbers behind the ball.”

England will be back in action against Argentina on Saturday at 0600 [subject to FIH scheduling]; all matches are being shown live on Sky Sports.

Germany will be playing alongside England in London next Summer from 21-30 August at the 2015 EuroHockey Nations Championships on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Tickets for the event are available from www.eurohockey2015.co.uk