(Photo: © FIH)

A year after their withdrawal from their first Champions Trophy as Olympic champions, Australia went into the next edition as favorites and impressively confirmed the premature laurels. The clearly best team in the tournament, they dropped only two points in Friday’s 3-3 draw with Pakistan and did not have much difficulty to repeat their win in the remake of the Olympic final in this tournament’s last encounter.

Having scored a deflection goal from a penalty corner in the 22nd minute, Australia went into halftime with a one goal lead. Immediately after the restart of the match, Liam de Young scored a field goal to extend his team’s lead to two, just before the driving rain forced a fifteen minute interruption.

After the match was restarted, the Dutch found it increasingly hard to create scoring opportunities, their consolation goal coming late in the game from a Taekema penalty corner in the 65th minute, three minutes after Jamie Dwyer had extended his team’s advantage to a safe three goals.

In the bronze medal match, Spain were never in any real danger from their German opponents, the two teams staging an entertaining match despite the at times pounding rain. Two goals a piece from Pol Amat and Santi Freixa plus one from Alex Fabregas gave the titleholders the third place while Germany should be content with their 4th place finish, one place better than last year despite a string of last minute withdrawals, including that of Bjoern Emmerling who sustained his injury already out here in Chennai at last week’s benefit match.

The first match of the day had hosts India take on Pakistan to avoid relegation. Pakistan had not won a match in the pool round and finished on a meager two points but rediscovered their strength and resolve shortly before the break in their last match of the event when already two down. Scoring four goals and allowing only one more against, they to the great disappointment of the sizeable crowd braving the pouring rain recorded their first win.

Their victory gives Pakistan the chance to participate in next year’s Champions Trophy in Terrassa, Spain in July, an important preparation for the World Cup less than two months later, while India will not participate for the first time since 2001. India will be replaced by Argentina who won this year’s Challenge tournament in Alexandria and will be contesting their first FIH world level event under new coach Sergio Cachito Vigil after his transfer from the same post with the Leonas.

Sahara Hockey Champions Trophy Awards
Player of the Tournament: Bevan George (AUS)
Highest Goal Scorer: Santi Freixa (ESP)
Fair Play Trophy: Spain