Bhubaneswar, 11 December 2014: World champions Australia secured their semi-final spot after wrestling down World Cup Bronze medallists Argentina 4-2 (1-1) in Thursday’s second quarter-final at the Hero Hockey Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar.
Simon Orchard gave Australia a fifth minute lead when he got a stick to Russell Ford’s hard right-wing cross, the ball just evading the clutches of Manuel Vivaldi. Argentina equalised when Lucas Vila made a lovely run, ghosting around a few tackles before pulling the ball back. Facundo Callioni quickly flipped it to Matias Paredes to volley home a great goal a minute into the second quarter.
The third quarter saw Manuel Brunet putting the Leones ahead 2-1 after a great team move. However, Jeremy Hayward, adding his third goal in this tournament, levelled the score at 2-2 just two minutes later when his penalty corner drag-flick found its way into the net. The Kookaburras eventually secured their semi-final tickets thanks to Daniel Beale scoring from open play and Chris Ciriello firing home a penalty corner. Argentina’s Leones fought hard to get back but their effort did not pay off.
Speaking post the win, Coach Graham Reid said, “It’s a happy ending. In the morning we were discussing on the areas that we had to focus and not commit mistakes. Many things were rectified but we are still working on many other things. Two more matches to go and yes we will ensure that we do not lose momentum from here. Today I happy with the format of the tournament and we will look forward to play either Germany or England in the semi-finals.”
Australian Captain, Eddie Ockenden speaking on the performance of the team said, “We played a very fast match today and turned every opportunity into goals. Argentina is a very strong team especially in defence and cracking their defence was a big challenge and we succeeded in it. From here we are now looking forward for semi-final match.”
On being asked on the disappointing result, Argentina Captain Matias Paredes said, “We are disappointed. We played very well, but we lost focus in the 3rd quarter and which cost us this game. We gave away too many penalty corners and could not defend well against Australia today.”