|February 28th, 2010|
|02||Pool B||6:30pm||AUS - ENG||2 - 3 (1 - 2)||Final|
The second game of opening day was a classic hockey opposition between Australia and England. The two countries have already met 8 times in previous World Cup, with Australia winning 7 of the 8 encounters, most famously in 1986 when Australia won the World Cup title by beating England 2-1 in the final. Having won 51 of 72 World Cup matches, Australia boast a winning percentage of 71%, higher than any other team. They finished runner-up in the last two editions (2002 and 2006) and have the strong desire to go one step higher this time around.
The two teams unsuccessfully exchanged penalty-corners in the opening minutes and the game flowed end-to-end for a while, under the loud encouragements of the crowd slowly filling in the stadium for the marquis event later in the evening. After wasting a few opportunities with shots high in the stands, Australia were awarded a penalty-stroke and Jamie DWYER made no mistake from the spot to open the scoring.
England did not waste time to tie the game, Ashley JACKSON roofing a penalty-corner in spectacular fashion over George BAZELEY in the Australian goal, scoring in the process the first English World Cup goal against Australia since 1986. Neither team could take full control of the game in this first period and the score remained tied until the last minute of the half, when England converted another penalty-corner, this time by James TINDALL with a low shot.
The same player increased the gap early in second half, collecting a rebound, after a shot by Iain MACKAY hit the post, to slot it in goal and give his team a small cushion. England were playing well, putting all the pressure on Australia and preventing them from developing their game. The Kookaburras wasted a large number of penalty corners and were kept at bay by a phenomenal James FAIR in the English goal. They finally scored on their twelfth attempt to close the gap with less than 5 minutes to go.
This set the stage for an intense end of game, with more intervention of the video-umpire. The English team maintained their pressure very high, managing to keep the Australians at bay for a well deserved win.
Match Facts (Australia v. England):
> England collected their first World Cup win over Australia in 35 years by beating them 3-2.
> This ended their 7-match losing streak against Australia in World Cup competition.
> England's only previous WC victory over the Kookaburras came in 1975 (3-1).
> Australia have now lost their last four World Cup matches against European opposition, losing to ENG (2010), GER and ESP (2006) and GER (2002).
> England are now on a 4-match winning streak in World Cup competition.
> They also won their last three WC matches in 2006 against Pakistan (1-0), New Zealand (4-3) and South Africa (3-1).
> James Tindall (ENG) scored twice to lift his World Cup total to 7 goals in 8 matches.