England, China in Hockey World Cup quarterfinals
BHUBANESWAR, India: In the first game of the day, Australia, already ensured of the top position in the pool before the game, heavily defeated China (11-0). However, as England defeated Ireland (4-2), both England and China will progress to the crossovers. England will play New Zealand, while China will take on France on Monday.
Reigning world champions Australia (FIH Hero World Ranking: 1) were already confirmed as the winners of Pool B following their impressive 3-0 victory over England on Tuesday (4 December), but that did not stop them wanting to maintain their winning streak in today’s meeting against a China (WR:17) team that were unbeaten coming into the match.
The Kookaburras were at their scintillating best in the first quarter to open up a 2-0 lead, with Blake Govers finding the roof of the China net from a penalty corner before a tap-in from Aran Zelewski doubled the advantage. Four Australian goals arrived in the fourth quarter, with Tom Craig, a second for Govers, Jeremy Hayward and a fine team goal finished off by the exceptional Jake Whetton, who showed incredible reactions to dive in and guide the ball home from close range.
At 6-0, the Australians could have been forgiven for easing off in the two remaining quarters, but it is not something any Kookaburras side could ever be accused of. A further five goals flew into the China net, with Odisha Player of the Match Blake Govers completing his hat-trick alongside efforts from Tim Brand (2), Dylan Wotherspoon and Flynn Ogilvie on target as Australia made it three wins from three matches.
“The boys were having a lot of fun out there, a lot of goals were scored so I guess we were in the groove”, said Australia’s Matthew Swann after the match. “There were a lot of selfless acts out there, when guys could have taken the shot themselves but laid it off to a guy who was in a better spot, and it is hard [for China] to protect the whole goal.”
The second game of the day saw Ireland (WR:10) play England (WR:7) with both teams having one point each at the start of the game.