Australia has powered through to the Azlan Shah semi finals with a convincing 7-2 win over China, in Malaysia.
After Sunday's disappointing loss to Argentina, where the Kookaburras had all the play but just couldn't convert, Wednesday night's match was a much different story with more fluency in attack rewarding the hard work done in defense and through the midfield.
28 circle penetrations to 18 and 20 shots on goal to five highlight just how well the Kookaburras played in the Ipoh heat, with Grant Schubert scoring three times in his 100th international while Russell Ford scored twice.
Once again though the Kookaburras' defense was outstanding, Wells and George thwarting the Chinese' drive, while Daniel McPherson and Stephen Lambert blocked multiple shots on goal with a half each in the box.
China began well, their defensive play and counter attacking troubling the Kookaburras. They came close to scoring from a penalty corner several times but the Australian' defense stood strong.
The Kookaburras made them pay in the 15th minute when Russell Ford deflected a free hit into the net, four minutes later Matt Naylor made it 2-0 when he pounced on a rebound in the circle and then just before half time Brent Livermore easily flicked through a penalty stroke to give the Kookaburras a 3-0 lead.
After the break it became the Grant Schubert show. In his 100th international the South Australian showed his class with three great goals, the first two minutes after the break, his pace and ball control too much for the Chinese' defense. Russell Ford also got another in the second half as Australia put the result beyond doubt despite two goals from China.
'Today was an improved performance and it was pleasing to score regularly throughout the match,' said coach for the tournament, Colin Batch.
'The win secured a semi-finals position. Our focus again for the rest of the tournament will be our transfer through the mid-field and good return inside the circle.'
The Kookaburras will now play Korea in Friday's semi-finals with India and Malaysia battling out the other semi.
Argentina – Australia 1-0
China – India 4-5
Argentina – China 3-2
Australia – India 1-0
India – Argentina 2-0
Australia – China 7-2
Korea – Canada 1-0
Pakistan – Malaysia 2-2
Malaysia – Korea 1-0
Pakistan – Canada 2-0
Korea – Pakistan 4-2
Malaysia – Canada 2-0
Australia – Korea
India – Malaysia
Source: Hockey Australia
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