England are Bronze medal winners in the inaugural Hockey World League thanks to their 2-1 win over Australia. The first half was a very intensive one with both teams having an equal share of the attacking play. England were first to score when Tom Carson (13’) converted their first chance from close range. But the Kookaburras fought back immediately thanks to a Glenn Turner (16’) strike.
Afterwards the world champions put a lot of pressure on the English defence but goalkeeper George Pinner pulled off some tremendous saves, keeping the Aussies out. At halftime, the match was tight at 1-1.
The second half saw Australia winning two early penalty corners but they could not capitalize on them. Shortly afterwards England’s Alistair Brogdon missed the opportunity to take the lead when he won possession after a long pass, cruised around the Aussie goalkeeper Tyler Lovell, shot from wide angle but eventually hit the post.
Adam Dixon was also close to scoring when his backhand stroke missed the goal by centimetres. However, it was team-captain Barry Middleton (54’) deflecting a great pass by Ashley Jackson into the goal making it 2-1.
Australia peppered the England goal through series of penalty corners but their usual threat from the top of the circle seemed to be dampened by stalwart defending. Their last chance to equalise was from a penalty corner awarded in the last minute. Glenn Turner’s shot found its way into the goal but umpire Roel van Eert called the video umpire to check. The video umpire’s decision was no goal and England won 2-1.
Hero Man of the Match Iain Lewers, said: "We have come a long way in the past nine months. We were very disappointed in semi finals, but we did really well to come back."
George Pinner, who is celebrating his 27th birthday today added: "Today was the team you saw in the first four games. It was agonising to lose in the semi finals on a shoot out, so it really shows the calibre of this team to pick itself up. The main thing that we did today was defend bravely. We know that games can be won through penalty corners, so we have made it our focus not to concede so many."
Ric Charlesworth, the Australian coach, said: "We were too loose at the back. We allowed them to score from very few chances and we didn't put our chances away as we should have done. But, it has been a great experience, especially for the younger guys. They have had a chance to experience playing against very tough opposition."