Australia seals quarterfinals berth after China hold Ireland 1-1 in WC

Bhubaneswar, Dec 4:

Two-time champions Australia firmly remained on course for a hat-trick of titles by becoming the first team to qualify for the quarterfinals of the men’s hockey World Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over England in a Pool B match here.
World number 1 Australia scored three goals in the final quarter to register their second consecutive win in Pool B at the Kalinga Stadium.
The win took Australia to the top of Pool B with six points from two games and secured their place in the quarterfinals of the 16-team event.
The Kookaburras became the first to seal a direct quarterfinal berth after China sprang yet another surprise by holding higher-ranked Ireland to a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the other Pool B match.
Jin Guo scored from a penalty corner for China in the 43rd minute before Ireland’s Alan Sothern drew parity in the very next minute.
The Kookaburras had earlier defeated Ireland 2-1 in their tournament opener, while China drew 2-2 with England.
While Australia will finish at the top of the pool, world number 17 China are placed second ahead of Ireland (1 point) and England (1).
Australia play China in their last pool match on December 7, while England will be up against neighbours Ireland.
The battle between world’s number one side Australia and number 7 England witnessed a dull first quarter with both the teams struggling to make inroads into the rival citadel. (PTI)

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