Kookaburras make Tokyo men’s hockey final
Australia will play Belgium for men’s hockey gold in Tokyo inspired by the memories of Olympic glory in 2004.
Blake Govers, who scored as Australia overcame Germany 3-1 in a pulsating semi-final, says emulating the success in Athens 17 years ago has driven Colin Batch’s side in Japan.
‘Rio has fuelled the fire for five years,’ said Govers, referring to the 4-0 quarter-final defeat to the Netherlands at the 2016 Olympics.
‘But the Kookaburras haven’t won a gold medal since ’04. So that’s an even bigger fire.
‘It’s not just this team. We acknowledge the past and inspire the future.
‘That’s what we want to do and it’s been a hard road for everyone.
‘Gold would mean a lot for me personally. ‘We’ve put the hard yards in, so you get what you deserve.’
Tim Brand put the Kookaburras ahead from close range after seven minutes following brilliant work from Flynn Oglivie.
Lukas Windfeder levelled with a penalty corner as Germany responded quickly.
But Govers, with his 96th international goal and seventh of these Tokyo Games, restored the Kookaburras’ lead with a vicious low penalty corner.
Germany forced much of the play in a combative second half with Australia restricted to rare breakouts.
Lachlan Sharp secured victory 90 seconds from time after Germany had gambled by replacing goalkeeper Alexander Stadler with an outfield player.
Australia had made the semi-final by beating the Netherlands in a penalty shoot-out and Govers said: ‘We’ve quite enjoyed this hard run.
‘It’s given us a lot of preparation – European teams who we haven’t played much of.
‘It’s been a great experience heading into Belgium and now we’ve got to to focus on our job.’
World champions Belgium booked their final spot earlier on Tuesday by beating India 5-2.
The two sides will battle for gold at Tokyo’s Oi Stadium on Thursday evening.