India suffered a humiliating 0-4 loss against defending champions Australia in their final group league encounter of the FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup at The Hague on Monday.
Asserting their strength, Australia built up a four-goal lead inside 22 minutes, before the Indians managed to regroup and display a stronger defence to deny the rampant Aussies a chance of scoring any more goals.
Kieran Govers opened the scoring with a field goal in the 3rd minute. It was followed by three penalty corner strikers — two by Chris Ciriello and one by Jeremy Hayward. Australia topped Group A with maximum 15 points from five successive victories.
The Aussies players are on course to have another crack at the title as a present to their coach Ric Charlesworth, for whom this will be the last World Cup, as he retires later this year.
India finished their five pool matches with four points, gained from a victory over Malaysia and a draw with Spain.
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India now await the result of the Spain-Malaysia result later today to know whether they finish fourth or fifth in the group. Spain have two points from four matches, while Malaysia have lost all their four games.
A draw or a Malaysian victory will help India finish in the fourth spot in the group, and then play-off for the seventh and eighth spots.
A Spanish victory will relegate India to the fifth spot in the pool, making them play for the ninth and 10th positions.
India managed to mouth a few raids, but the defence also regrouped and put up a stiffer challenge for the rival strikers. Australia today opened the game by pressuring the Indian defence into conceding an early goal.
Olympic silver medallists The Netherlands stormed into the men’s hockey World Cup semifinals with a runaway 7-1 victory over South Africa at the Kyocera Stadium.
Three-time World Cup winners Netherlands stayed at the top of Group B with 12 points from four successive victories to ensure a spot in the semifinals. Netherlands are virtually assured of the top spot in the pool irrespective of the result of their last league outing against New Zealand, because of their massive goal difference.
US WOMEN ALMOST THROUGH
The United States women are on way to advancing to the semifinals of the hockey World Cup after a gap of two decades. The USA defeated Germany 4-1 Sunday to boost their points tally to 10 and head the Group B standings ahead of defending champions Argentina.
Argentina’s 2-1 victory over England, clinched by a last-minute goal, also gives them 10 points, but the USA have a superior goal difference. Three victories and a draw with Argentina has almost placed them in the final even before their last preliminary league fixture against South Africa.