Australia’s men into hockey semi-finals

Australia’s men swept into the hockey World Cup semi-finals with a 5-0 drubbing of England in The Netherlands on Saturday.


But the previously undefeated Hockeyroos lost to the home side 2-0 in women’s Group A play.

New Zealand’s women beat Japan 4-1 and will meet Australia on Monday to determine who goes through to the semi-finals with the Dutch.

In the Australian men’s match, Matt Gohdes’ strike inside the opening 30 seconds set the tone for a feast in a first half that finished with Kieran Govers scoring one of the goals of the tournament, knocking a Mark Knowles’ aerial pass into the net with just one second of the half remaining.

In between, two of Australia’s most decorated players – Athens Olympic gold medallists Liam De Young and Jamie Dwyer – showed their enduring talent; De Young knocking home a penalty corner rebound and Dwyer finishing from close range after Jake Whetton’s unselfish pass across goal.

Aran Zalewski’s surging run through the heart of the English defence just three minutes after the re-start made it 5-0, the result taking the undefeated Kookaburras to 12 points with one pool match remaining.

Their nearest challengers Belgium are three points behind after beating Spain 5-2 with England a further two back on seven.

India collected their first win with a 3-2 victory over Malaysia.

England and Belgium meet on Monday to fight for the other semi-final position from Pool A while the Kookaburras play India the same day.

“When I came to the ground I would have been happy with a draw because that was enough for us to qualify for the main games,” said coach Ric Charlesworth.

“We now have the opportunity of a long break before the semi-final but the next game [against India] is important for us to play well again and start preparing for what will be a semi-final next Friday.”

With Pool B a day behind, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Argentina and Germany are all still in the running to progress to the final four from the other half of the draw.

In the women’s Pool A, The Netherlands improved to 4-0-0 for 12 points and a spot in the semis, while Australia remain second after their first defeat.

“In international hockey … you have to take your chances. Unfortunately, we didn’t take ours tonight and the Dutch were able to take theirs and they were very well taken at that, as well,” said Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens.

Third on seven points are the South Koreans, who blasted Belgium 4-2 while New Zealand enjoyed a 4-1 victory over Japan to improve to 2-0-2 and six points.

New Zealand will take on Australia on Monday knowing they could advance to the semi-finals with a win and a loss by South Korea, who face the Netherlands.