Gonzalo Pilat’s hat-trick leads Germany to Hockey World Cup final

Star drag-flicker Gonzalo Pilat scored a second-half hat-trick as Germany came back from two goals down to beat Australia 4-3 to enter the FIH (International Hockey Federation) Men’s World Cup final for the fifth time here on Friday. Pilat scored from penalty corners in the 43rd, 52nd and 59th minutes, while player of the match Nicklas Wellen (60th) stunned the Australian camp with a goal seconds before the end of the match.

Australia’s team was leading 2-0 till the interval. Jeremy Hayward (12th), Nathan Ephraims (27th) and Blake Govers (58th) scored the goals for the team. Australia will now play the bronze medal match on Sunday. The German team has won the second match in a row after coming back from behind. After going down 0–2 against England in the quarter-final match, the team scored twice in the last three minutes to equalize and then defeated England in the penalty shoot-out to reach the semi-finals.

Two-time champions Germany booked their place in the final for the first time since the 2010 season in New Delhi. Then the team missed out on completing the title hat-trick. This team became the champion in 2002 and 2006 while in 1982 also won the silver medal. Germany also avenged their 1-3 loss to Australia in the semi-finals of the Tokyo Olympics. Three-time champions Australia missed out on a place in the final for the second time in a row. The team had lost to the Netherlands at the same stage in 2018 and won the bronze medal.

Earlier, they were successful in winning the title twice in 2010 and 2014. Australia were leading 2–0 in the 42nd minute and it looked like the result of the match would be in their favour. Pilat, who played more than 100 matches for Argentina, however, changed the course of the match after that. Pilat, who played a key role in helping Argentina win the gold medal at the 2016 Olympics, is now a German citizen.

He turned the match from Australia to Germany in the last 18 minutes. Australia took the lead in the 12th minute from another penalty corner. With this goal, Jeremy Hayward consolidated his position as the top goalscorer in the tournament. Nathan then doubled the team’s lead in the 26th minute. In the second half, the German players adopted an aggressive approach and earned five consecutive penalty corners. Pilat converted one of these into a goal to bring the team back into the match.

He converted his 12th penalty corner of the day to make it 2-2 in the 51st minute. The match saw many ups and downs in the last three minutes. Grovers put Australia ahead 3–2 in the 58th minute but in the very next minute, Pilat converted a penalty corner to make it 3–3. With less than 20 minutes left in the match, Wellen headed the ball past the Australian goal posts to give the team a memorable victory.

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