London, Aug 9: Defending champions Germany stormed into the final of the men's hockey competition at the London Olympics with a 4-2 victory over 2004 champions Australia here on Thursday. Germany came back twice from behind to knock out the current World champions, Australia. The two countries have contested the last three World Cup finals with Germany wining twice in 2002 and 2006. Australia won the contest in New Delhi in 2010.
Australia scored first in the 22nd minute through Kieran Govers, who slammed in a rebound from the goalkeeper after Glenn Turner's initial crack at the goal was blocked by custodian Max Weinhold. Germany drew level four minutes later when Moritz Fuerste converted a penalty corner. Australia took a 2-1 lead again after seven minutes into the second half, when Glenn Turner picked up the ball from the goalkeeper's feet to scoop into the goal after two earlier shots had been blocked by Weinhold.
Matthias Witthaus picked up a long diagonal ball from the right on top of the circle and scored with a firm push into the boards for Germany to draw level in the 54th minute. Timo Wess put Germany ahead with a firm penalty corner shot in the 59th minute. Wess was the architect of Germany's fourth goal just seven minutes before the final whistle when he sent a defence-splitting cross from left into the circle and Florin Fuchs sealed it with his lunging shot.
In the second semifinal, the Netherlands thrashed hosts Great Britain 9-2 in a one-sided contest. It was the worst ever defeat for Great Britain in hockey, the previous worst result being the 8-1 thumping they got in the hands of Pakistan (in 2000) and Spain (in 2011). The only time an Olympic semifinal saw a bigger margin was in 1936 when India destroyed France 10-0.
Roderick Weusthoff made it 2-0 by the 15th minute of the game and the hosts pulled one back through Ashley Jackson in the 18th minute but then it was over. Weusthoff and Bakker scored hat-tricks while Mink van der Weerden, Tuen de Nooijer and Floris Evers scored one goal each. Robert Moore scored the consolation second goal for Great Britain in the 65th minute. The Netherlands meet Germany in the final match while Great Britain and Australia will play for the bronze medal. The Netherlands had beat Germany 3-1 in the group stages. Both teams will look to earn their third gold in Olympic hockey.
In the classification matches during the day, New Zealand beat Argentina 3-1 to finish ninth in the tournament while Pakistan beat Korea 3-2 after trailing twice in an all-Asia decider for the seventh-eighth places. Stephen Jeness, Richard Petherick and Nick Wilson scored for New Zealand while Pedro Ibarra scored the Argentine goal. For the Pakistanis, Muhammad Waqas, Abdul Haseem Khan and Muhammad Imran scored while Hyun Hye-Sung made the twin Korean strikes.
(With PTI inputs)