Thursday, March 23, 2023

Australia, Belgium top groups in Hockey World Cup

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ISLAMABAD: Australia and Belgium have topped their groups in the ongoing World Cup Hockey underway in the Indian Cities of Bhubaneswar and Rourkela (Odisha) and moved into the quarter-finals.

The group stage action that was completed Saturday saw Australia and Belgium topping their groups, booking their quarterfinals spots, while Argentina, France, Germany and Korea now move on to the crossovers.

While the first four teams from all four groups – Australia, The Netherlands, Belgium and England have made it to the quarter-finals, the runners-up in each group would play cross-overs against third spot holders to determine four other quarter-finalists.

Malaysia will be taking on Spain while India are to play New Zealand on January 22.

Germany will be pitted against France while Argentina will be playing against Korea on January 23. The winners of these matches will join the Group leaders for the quarter-final stage.

Incredibly, all four games played on Saturday in the World Cup Hockey saw at least one player scoring a hat-trick, with the second game between France and Argentina producing two, as Blake Govers (AUS), Victor Charlet (FRA), Nicolas della Torre (ARG), Tom Boon (BEL) and Niklas Wellen (GER) all scored at least thrice for their teams! A total of 38 goals were scored across the 4 games on the day, for a whopping average of 9.5 goals per game!

In the opening game of the day, the Australian attack showed out in the first half going into the break up 7-1 to put the result beyond much doubt.

South Africa gave a better account of themselves in the second half but Australia still ran out of comfortable winners with a 9-2 final scoreline. Argentina and France then played in an absolute thriller that included 2 goals scored by the teams in the final 53 seconds! The game ended 5-5 which kept Argentina above France in the final pool standings, as both teams head into the crossovers.

In Pool B, Belgium handled their business first registering an impressive 7-1 win over Japan, with star striker Tom Boon opening his account in the World Cup with a 5-goal performance, taking Belgium’s goal difference to +11. Germany faced Korea in the final encounter, needing to win by 9 goals to overtake Belgium in the Pool B standings and earn direct entry into the quarterfinals, but an impressive 7-2 was not enough as they joined Korea in heading to the crossovers from Pool B.

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