Australia thrash France 3-0, cruise into Hockey WC semi-final

Bhubaneswar: In a one-sided encounter, world number one side Australia thumped France 3-0 to breeze into the semi-final of the ongoing men’s Hockey World Cup here at the Kalinga Stadium on Wednesday.

Australia, who had finished on top of the Pool B, were hoping to maintain their consecutive spree of making it to the Hockey World Cup semi-final and they achieved the same with ease, in the end.

With England stunning Rio Olympics champion Argentina in their quarter-final match, it was not an unusual thing to expect something similar from world number 20 France. Australia, however, did not give their opponents any chance to create an upset.

The defending champions took a lead in the fourth minute of the match when Jeremy Hayward scored a goal off a penalty corner. He beautifully dribbled the ball and deceived a couple of French players to hit the bull’s eye.

France showed enough intent in the game with repeated attacks but an equalizer remained out of their reach. They sustained another jolt when Australia’s Blake Grovers fired a fiery drag flick to take a 2-0 lead in the match.

Australia continued with their dominant run in the second half as they did not give France many chances to overpower them. With one more goal in the 37th minute, Australia kind of sealed the match. France, who had reached the quarters round after beating China in crossovers, failed to pose a tough challenge to the three-time world champions.

With every passing minute, Australia’s ball possession percentage increased. Till the end of the 60 minutes, they maintained their three points lead and sealed a semis spot for themselves.

Australia’s semi-final opponent will be decided after the quarter-final match between India and Netherlands which is slated to be held on December 13.