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Australia: Pakistan stage comeback to shock Germany in Champions Trophy
MELBOURNE, (Agencies): Pakistan clawed back from a goal down to beat Olympic gold-medalists Germany in the first quarterfinal of the FIH Champions Trophy 2012 in Melbourne early Thursday.
Shakeel Abbasi scored a goal in each half, after the Germans went 1-0 up early in the match, to book a place in the semi-finals of the tournament.
The Greenshirts missed several chances, including three penalty corners, to better the scoreline but held on to beat the much higher placed opponents.
Pakistan’s second and decisive goal was full of controversy.
The goal was scored by Abbasi, however Germany referred the decision claiming it should not have been awarded as the ball initially came off the back of the stick of a Pakistani player before making its way to Abbasi.
The video proved inconclusive with the goal standing despite the German protests.
Abbasi said he believed his team could continue to do well in the tournament.
“In the last three matches I didn’t score and I am a mentor for my side so I realised I had to score,” he said.
“If we have confidence and play hard and have dedication, we have the potential to win against every team.”
This was Pakistan’s only second win in the tournament, after losing against Australia and Netherlands but won against Belgium in a tournament where all eight participating team played the quarterfinals.
Pakistan are one win away from their first Champions Trophy final since 1998 after upsetting the Germans. To reach the tournament decider they will have to beat the Netherlands in Saturday’s semi-final after the Dutch accounted for New Zealand 2-0.
The Netherlands were pleased to progress to the last four, yet coach Paul van Ass said he didn’t feel his team played their best.
“It wasn’t the best game from us here. It wasn’t a fun game to watch, but maybe this weekend we will see a lot of nice matches,” he said.
“The test will come this weekend when we play against high pressure. That is what we are here for so I’m looking forward to that.”
Early on it looked as though it would be an easy win with the Dutch on top.
After scoring first through Jeroen Hertzberger, Netherlands struggled to find a way to extend their lead.
A second breakthrough came following a brilliant run into the circle by Sander de Wijn, with Billy Bakker converting for a two-goal cushion and passage into the semi-finals.
Meanwhile in the day’s other quarters, Australia’s hopes of a fifth straight title remain on target after beating England 2-0 and will take on India, who chasing their first Trophy medal for 30 years, edged out Belgium 1-0.
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