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Australia storm into semis

July 05, 2005 22:15 IST

Australia became the first team to enter the semi-finals of the Rabobank Junior World Cup hockey tournament for men when they crushed four-time champions Germany 7-1 in a Pool F league match in Rotterdam on Tuesday.

With three victories and a draw, the Aussies have 10 points, followed by Argentina (8) Germany (6) and Pakistan (4).

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In a one-sided encounter, the Aussies, barring a brief spell in the second-half when the Germans applied pressure, were right on top against a team that appeared flat-footed in comparison.

Using the long balls and one-touch moves, the Aussies ripped open the German defence after gaining the upper hand in the midfield.

Bristling with aggression from the start, the Aussies, winners of the 1997 edition, used the width of the field to stretch the German defence.

The Aussie forwards wasted little time in having a crack at the goal once inside the circle. It was a typical slick performance by the Aussies who now have emerged favourites for the title.

The Aussies, who led 3-0 at the break, scored through Ian Burcher (5th minute), Edward Ockenden (19th, 62nd) and Colin Hennessey (27th, 38th), Thomas Cleghorn (51st) and

Desmond Abbott (55th), while the Germans drew some consolation from a Tim Witthaus strike in the 49th.

Incidentally, Hennessey's two-goal effort took his tournament tally to 12 from five matches.

Earlier, Lucas Vila made amends for a penalty-stroke miss with the equaliser for Argentina eight minutes from close in their 1-1 draw with Pakistan in Pool F.

Pakistan survived 10 penalty-corners besides the stroke and went ahead in the 58th on a penalty-corner conversion by Khalid Muhammad.

Argentina have eight points to Pakistan's four with a game each in hand. The draw also put Pakistan virtually out of reckoning for a semi-final berth.

The Pakistanis yet again disappointed with a disjointed display while the Argentine side too struggled to get going, resulting in a rather scrappy encounter that offered little to the connoisseur.

Wednesday's fixtures (all timings IST): Argentina vs Australia (4 pm); Pakistan vs Malaysia (6.30 pm); Spain vs Egypt (8.30 pm); England vs India (9 pm); Germany vs Belgium (11 pm); Netherlands vs Korea (11.30 pm).

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