|March 8th, 2010|
|26||Pool B||6:30pm||AUS - PAK||2 - 1 (0 - 1)||Final|
In the second game of the day, Australia had a chance to top the pool with a win, thanks to their goal difference boosted by their record win against South Africa (12-0). They were facing a Pakistani outfit struggling in this competition, with defeats at the hands of India, England and South Africa and a meagre win over Spain.
The Kookaburras were promptly in action and created a handful of chances in the opening five minutes but the final passes were lacking precision. Pakistan progressively became more dangerous after fifteen minutes of play, threatening Nathan BURGERS in the Australian goal in two occasions but they were most of the times confined in their defensive zone. Salman AKBAR was called into action a few times, including on two shots in quick succession from close range that he successfully deflected. Somewhat against the flow of play, Pakistan earned two penalty-corners in a row in the 24th minute and Sohail ABBAS slotted the second one in the top corner after hitting the crossbar on the first one.
Australia maintained a sustained pressure for the remainder of the period, however, despite having most of the ball possession, they could not generate any clear chance and Pakistan went into the break with their one-goal lead. The Kookaburras jumped into action as soon as play resumed and immediately equalized by Desmond ABBOTT with a powerful shot from the edge of the circle.
Play suddenly opened up with crowd pleasing movements sweeping across the field. The Pakistani forward, who have not showed much in this competition so far, were once again not combining well and the Green Shirts had to rely on penalty-corners. They had two chances on set pieces but Waseem AHMED then Sohail ABBAS were off target, as was Luke DOERNER as the other end.
With both teams eager to win, Australia to top the pool and Pakistan for pride, the last ten minutes were very intense and animated. Pakistan thought that they had forced another penalty-corner but it was denied by the video umpire, then Shakeel ABBASI had a huge chance alone at the top of the circle and sent his shot high in the crowd... The deadlock was only broken in the 68th minute by Desmond ABBOTT bursting forward to deflect a cross by Robert HAMMOND from the left, leaving the Green Shirts dejected after their forth defeat and Australia relieved to grab a last minute win despite a mediocre performance.
Match facts (Australia v. Pakistan):
> Australia beat Pakistan 2-1 to become group winner in Pool B, beating England on goal difference.
> This is Australia’s ninth semi-final berth. Only Germany has played more semi-final matches (10, excluding 2010).
> Pakistan will finish 5th or 6th in the Pool depending on the result of the South Africa – India match.
> Des Abbott scored twice to lift his WC total to four goals. He now joins Glenn Turner (AUS) as player with most field goals scored at Delhi 2010 (4).
> Sohail Abbas, Pakistan’s top goal scorer in WC competition is now on 18 goals. The all-time WC record stands at 26 goals and is held by Paul Litjens (NED). Amongst active players only Taeke Taekema (NED) has scored more goals (19).