Bhubaneswar, Dec 8:
Ireland crashed out of the men’s hockey World Cup after losing 2-3 to England, handing China a “lucky’’ berth in the knockout stages despite being crushed 0-11 by two-time holders Australia here on Friday.
The last round Pool B engagements concluded.
Australia topped the pool with an all-win record after thrashing lowly China in a lop-sided affair and remained on course for a hat-trick of titles.
Australia accumulated nine points from three games and secured a direct entry into the quarterfinals while England finished second on four points and China (2 points) scrapped through by securing the third spot with two draws.
Despite the heavy loss, China made it to the cross-overs, courtesy England’s win over Ireland.
If the England-Ireland match had ended in a draw, China would have been thrown out of the competition.
In the cross-overs, China will take on France on December 10, while England will face New Zealand the same day. World No. 7 England scored three field goals through David Condon (15th minute), Liam Ansell (37th) and James Gall (38th) to come out victorious.
For world No. 11 Ireland, Chris Cargo (35th) and Shane O’Donoghue sounded the board.
In the match between David and Goliath, Australia toyed with the hapless Chinese defence and scored goals at will to go into the halfway break with a commanding 6-0 lead.
Coming into the match with two impressive draws against higher-ranked England (2-2) and Ireland (1-1), it turned out to be a completely different ball game for the Chinese, as they found it difficult to breach the huge gulf.
From start to finish, the match was mostly played at the Chinese half with the Kookaburras launching one attack after another.
After managing to hold Australia initially, the floodgates opened in the 10th minute and there was no stopping the Kookaburras thereafter.
Blake Govers (10th, 19th, 34th minutes) scored a hat-trick, while young Tim Brand (33rd, 55th) accounted for two goals. Aran Zalewski (15th), Tom Craig (16th), Jeremy Hayward (22nd), Jake Whetton (29th), Dylan Wotherspoon (38th) and Flynn Ogilive (49th) were the other goal getters for Australia.
The Kookaburras could not break their own record of biggest win margin in international hockey.
Australia hold the record of biggest win margin, which they achieved by defeating South Africa 12-0 in the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi. The scoreline against China is the second biggest win in the history of the game.