MELBOURNE  – Pakistan won their first Champions Trophy medal since 2004 on Sunday, beating India 3-2 in the bronze medal play-off, depriving their arch-rivals of their first medal in more than 30 years.

In the final of the event, Australia went some way to erasing the pain of their London Olympics flop by winning a record fifth consecutive Champions Trophy in a 2-1 extra-time victory over the Netherlands.

Pakistani champion Shakeel Abbasi said the bronze was as good as winning gold. "It was a very important match for us because for the past eight years we haven't won a medal at the Champions Trophy," Abbasi said.

"So for us this is a gold medal because after such a long time between winning medals, but also winning against India, for me and my team and for Pakistan this is a gold medal." Pakistan beat India by the same score in the bronze medal showdown at Lahore eight years ago.

India began the stronger Sunday, drawing a penalty corner in the opening minutes as the ball came off the foot of a Pakistani defender.  The goal was converted by VR Raghunath and India had all the momentum.

However, Pakistan eventually worked their way back into the game, drawing level with a field goal from Muhammad Rizwan Senior on 21 minutes. Pakistan continued to control the play after half-time, scoring twice more through Shafqat Rasool and Muhammad Ateeq to set up a commanding lead.

India continued to fight until the end, scoring a penalty corner goal through Rupinder Pal Singh as the final siren sounded. Indian midfielder Yuvraj Walmiki said despite losing, his team would take a lot away from the tournament. "Coming out from the London Olympics we finished 12th and now at the Champions Trophy, after the Olympics and World Cup, it is one of the top tournaments so finishing fourth is a good achievement," Walmiki said. "But we are sad that unfortunately we couldn't get bronze." Pakistan also had wins over Germany (2-1) and Belgium (2-0) in the tournament, while India defeated England (3-1), New Zealand (4-2) and Belgium (1-0).

An early Dutch goal was cancelled out by Australia’s Russell Ford four minutes before half-time, with the final going into golden point extra time. Kieran Govers clinched victory with a brilliant field goal from the top of the circle five minutes into extra time to give the Kookaburras victory.

Five-time world player of the year Jamie Dwyer said it was the perfect response to the disappointment of finishing with the bronze medal at this year's Olympics, after going in as strong gold medal favourites. "After London the whole team was disappointed and we started having a few doubts go through our heads both as a team and individually. So to come back out and play like we did this week, it was very good," Dwyer said. Australian assistant coach Graham Reid felt the result was deserved. "I thought it was a dominant performance. The first half we started really well and then we let them back in," Reid said. "We started to come good again at the end of the first half and then the second half we dominated but we just couldn't put the ball in."

Netherlands coach Paul van Ass conceded the Kookaburras deserved the win. "Australia played very good and it was their quality that we couldn't play the game that we wanted to play. We were maybe lucky to get into the extra time. It was a well-deserved victory," he said.

Although Australia controlled the opening stages, it was the Netherlands who struck first, with Sander Baart converting a penalty corner in the 18th minute. Ford levelled the game four minutes before half-time. Australia then had a chance to take the lead but Dwyer missed a penalty stroke just before the break.

Australia dominated the second half but found Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann a stubborn obstacle. But in echoes of the Kookaburras' unforgettable golden goal win over the Dutch at the 2004 Athens Olympics, Govers's reverse stick shot from an Eddie Ockenden pass sealed gold for Australia.

In the classification matches, Belgium pulled off a 5-4 upset against world number one Germany to claim fifth spot, while New Zealand defeated England 3-2 in the 7th-8th place playoff.


Gold medal match

Australia    2

Netherlands    1

Bronze medal match

Pakistan    3

India    2

5th-6th playoff

Belgium    5

Germany    4

7th-8th playoff

New Zealand    3

England    2

 Final Standings

1    Australia

2    Netherlands

3    Pakistan

4    India

5    Belgium

6    Germany

7    New Zealand

8    England