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 February 26, 2002 | 1930 IST

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Australia struggle; Poland cruise

1986 champions Australia overcame a stiff challenge from England to score their second straight victory in the men's hockey World Cup in Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.

The Aussies, who had easily beaten Malaysia in their opening match, won 1-0.

For England it was their first defeat after a 1-0 win against Poland.

In the last match of the day, Poland easily beat Cuba 4-1 to score their first victory from two matches.

In an evenly contested match, Bevan George scored the match-winner for Australia. In the 53rd minute, after the quick breakaway by the Aussie forwards, he caught the England defence by surprise with a superb reverse stick shot that beat goalkeeper Jimi Lewis, who otherwise did a fine job between the posts.

England strived hard to restore parity but Australian custodian Lachlan Dreher proved hard to beat.

Australia's forwards Matthew Wells and Matthew Smith caused problems for the English backline with their uncanny understanding with each other but were unable to have a clear look at the England goal.

The Aussies what looks like an easy fixture on Wednesday against Poland while England should also collect maximum points in their match against newcomers Cuba.

In the Poland - Cuba match, it was the Cubans who forged ahead with a fifth minute goal by Yoandi Hernandez. But Poland, with their hard running off the ball, leveled the score in the 16th minute through a penalty-corner conversion by Tomasz Choczaj.

Thereafter, they totally outplayed the hockey minnows. Robert Grzeszczak, with a penalty-stroke in the 47th minute, and field goals by Artur Mikula (57th) and Slawomir Choczaj (69th) saw them cruise home.

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