- England beat Wales in five goal thriller
- India defeat Asian rivals Malaysia to qualify
- Australia and New Zealand top Pool A
The Semi-Finalists for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games men’s hockey were confirmed earlier today as Australia, England, India and New Zealand all won their respective matches.
Their qualification means that all four teams will battle it out for the medals, although who will play who in the Semi-Finals will not be known until the final rankings are determined after the conclusion of the men’s Pool matches tomorrow.
India were the first team to win on day six at the Gold Coast Hockey Centre as they fought out a tough 2-1 win against Asian rivals Malaysia.
Harmanpreet Singh (3 & 44) scored twice for India while Faizal Saari (16) was the lone goal scorer for Malaysia.
Speaking afterwards, India Chief Coach Sjoerd Marijne said: “We are happy to be on the winning side. I think the team has improved since our first match against Pakistan. Though there are still certain areas we must get better with, this win will give the team good momentum for the next match.”
New Zealand then took to the pitch and continued their fine form which has seen them score 17 goals and concede just four. The victims on this occasion were Scotland, who they beat 5-2.
Black Sticks Kane Russell was the hero of the day, scoring a hat-trick, delivering three goals from penalty corner drag flicks, while Jared Panchia and Hugo Inglis also scored through open play.
After their win, Head Coach Darren Smith said it was great to remain undefeated and continue their high goal scoring form. He said: “We were able to put a lot of pressure on Scotland and that caused some issues for them, and we were able to capitalise well.”
In the battle of Britain, Wales needed a win against England to keep their Semi-Final qualification hopes alive. And it was all going to plan at half-time, with Luke Hawker and Ben Francis giving them a 2-0 lead.
Hawker brilliantly diverted Ioan Wall’s cross beyond Harry Gibson in the 25th minute before Francis diverted a corner just before half-time.
England however had other plans and knew that a win for them would guarantee them a spot in the medal games.
Sam Ward proved the saviour as his hat-trick snatched victory from their British neighbours, his first coming in the 38th minute as he deflected Liam Sanford’s pass beyond Wales goalkeeper James Fortnam.
Ten minutes later he was on the scoresheet again through a penalty corner, but England had to wait to complete their comeback. With three minutes left on the clock, Ward controlled, turned and fired the ball into the Welsh goal to win the game 3-2.
England’s final group game is against India on Wednesday 11 April, a game that will determine who finishes top of Pool B and finalise the Semi-Final line-ups.
The last men’s game of the day saw Australia’s Kookaburras keep their 100% record intact as their rich vein of goal-scoring form continued as they beat Canada.
Another dominant first-quarter performance set Australia on their way, leading 3-0 at the first break after two goals from Dylan Wotherspoon double and a penalty corner drag flick from Jeremy Hayward.
Canada recovered from the early onslaught and began to impose themselves on the game, and whilst they had few scoring opportunities they did restrict Australia’s goalscoring threat for the next two quarters.
Australia persevered however and Trent Mitton added a fourth in the 54th minute as the Kookaburra’s finished 4-0 winners.
Their win means the defending champions are currently locked on nine points from three games with equal goal difference with New Zealand, the Black Sticks ahead on goals scored meaning Australia must win Tuesday’s game to finish top of Pool A.
Matches in both the women’s and men’s hockey events at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games will be taking place until 14 April. For the full event schedule, .
The men’s hockey event at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games is one of the last major international events before the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018 taking place in India between 28 November and 16 December. For more information about that event, .
For Gold Coast 2018 hockey tickets, .
Pool A: New Zealand 5, Scotland 2; Australia 4, Canada 0.
Pool B: India 2, Malaysia 1; England 3, Wales 2.