Facing the current European and Olympic gold medallists was always going to be a tough task for Craig Fulton’s squad but it took the Germans 54 minutes before they could find a crack in the Irish defence. A Florian Fuchs wonder goal in the 56th minute sealed the German victory but the Green Machine can take plenty of positives from their disciplined and skilful performance.
Germany enjoyed 60% of possession during the match and had 23 circle entries so for large periods this was a test of Irish discipline and concentration. Harte and Gleghorne marshalled the backline expertly throughout while also distributing the ball to their teammates on the counter attack.
There were several moments of skilful brilliance from the men in green; Cargo, Jackson and Robson all taking seamlessly impossible aerials from the nights sky and setting up attacks. Likewise Darling and Good were ever-threatening on the ball, darting down the wings but firing wide more than once which was reflected in Fulton’s half time comments that “we want to be more clinical”.
Germany, continuously persistent throughout, broke the deadlock as Windfeder fired the ball into the right corner from a penalty corner routine. The PC had been awarded after an Irish video referral was ruled inconclusive. There can be no complaints about Germany’s second goal, excellent skill by Fuchs drew Harte from his goal and he put the game out of reach.
The defensive effort by Ireland cannot be over-stated, never panicked and always structured; there are plenty of positives for Fulton’s men to take going into their final pool game. A draw for Ireland against Belgium on Tuesday (1:15pm) would be enough to earn them a place in the semi finals.
Coach Craig Fulton commented after the game “Looking at the result tonight we put in a great team effort and created some good chances. Belief is strong and we improved again tonight, so I’m really proud of the whole team”.
“Taking the bigger picture that was an okay result for us,” said Captain – John Jackson. “We had a very specific game plan and we stuck to it for most of the game, and that was to keep the goal difference down. We now have a great chance of making the semi-finals and that will be a first.”
Germany 2 (Windfeder, Fuchs)
Ireland Team: Harte (Captain), Jackson, Gormley, Magee, Shimmins, O’Donoghue, Darling, Good, Burton, Gleghorne, Harte.
Bench: Cargo, Sothern, Caruth, Robson, Watt, Fitzgerald.