Bhubaneswar: Argentine-turned-German Gonzalo Peillat struck a second-half hat-trick and Niklas Wellen scored a last-minute goal as Germany fought back from a two-goal deficit to stun World No. 1 Australia 4-3 and reach the final of the FIH Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup, here on Friday.
With drag flicker Jeremy Hayward (11th min) and Nathan Ephraums (26th min) scoring a goal in each of the first two quarters, Australia looked on course to win the first semifinal with a 2-0 lead at half-time.
But Peillat, who switched allegiance to Germany just before the Tokyo Olympics and did not play international hockey for three years, struck with his drag-flick in the 42nd minute to reduce the margin and then levelled the scores in the 51st minute to pull Germany, who dominated the second half, level 2-2.
Forward Blake Govers converted a penalty corner in the 57th minute to give Australia a 3-2 lead and once again it looked like the three-time winner’s Kookaburras were on their way to their sixth final with three minutes remaining on the clock.
But Peillat pulled Germany level again, converting another penalty corner in the 58th minute to complete his hat-trick.
And then Niklas Wellen stunned the Aussies by scoring the winner in the 59th minute, sealing a memorable victory for Germany. A yellow card to Australia’s Top Craig (five-minute suspension) in the 59th minute too helped the Honamas prevail 4-3 at the Kalinga Stadium here.
This is Germany’s fourth appearance in the men’s Hockey World Cup final and they will be taking on the winner of the second semifinal between defending champions Belgium and World No. 3 the Netherlands, hoping to win their third title to add to the ones they bagged in 2002 and 2006.
Australia earned five penalty corners and converted two of them. Germany earned 13 penalty corners of which they converted three.