Hockey

Kookaburras to play for men’s hockey Olympic gold after seeing off Germany

Australia are through to the Olympic men’s hockey final for the first time in 17 years after a 3-1 defeat of Germany in their semi-final in Tokyo. The Kookaburras will battle Belgium for the gold medal in Tokyo on Thursday evening.

Tim Brand and Blake Govers were on target in a pulsating semi-final contest, scoring either side of German Lukas Windfeder’s equaliser.

Lachlan Sharp sewed up victory 90 seconds from time on a Kookaburras’ breakaway. It means Australia will contest a first Games final since 2004 in Athens, the only time they have won Olympic gold. The game began at a frantic pace and the Kookaburras struck after seven minutes when Govers chose to take the aerial route.

Flynn Oglivie brought the ball down brilliantly for Brand to poach his fifth goal of the competition from close range. Australia’s joy was cut short, though, as Germany responded within three minutes from a penalty corner.

Windfeder is one of the best in the business from such situations, and he beat Oglivie’s attempted goal-line clearance to level. Tom Wickham’s burst set up Oglivie for a shot which Germany goalkeeper Alexander Stadler pushed around a post.

Andrew Charter was also busy at the other end to twice deny Timm Herzbruch and keep out Windfeder. Australia regained the lead four minutes before the break when Govers drilled home a low penalty corner.

It was Govers’ 96th goal in 110 international appearances, and his seventh at the Tokyo Games. Govers was foiled from another penalty corner by a superb Stadler stop before Germany began to dominate.

Constantin Staib went close in the final quarter, but Australia defended for their lives and sealed victory with no goalkeeper in the Germany net.

Wickham charged through and crossed for Sharp to apply the finishing touch in front of an empty goal. India and Germany will play for the bronze on Thursday morning.

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