Sunday 16 December 2018 | The Kookaburras have claimed the bronze medal at the 2018 FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup with an emphatic 8-1 victory over England in Sunday’s third place match in Bhubaneswar, India.
Top-ranked Australia hit back after Saturday’s disappointing semi-final shootout defeat to the Netherlands with an impressive display where Tom Craig netted a hat-trick.
Craig scored twice while Blake Govers also netted as the Kookaburras raced to a 3-0 half-time lead, before scoring three goals inside five minutes early in the third period.
Jeremy Hayward netted two late drag flicks from penalty corners to complete the rout to provide some consolation for the Kookaburras after missing out on their World Cup three-peat.
Australia heads home from the World Cup with their fifth bronze medal, but their first since 1994, having lifted the trophy in both 2010 and 2014.
Speaking after the game, Craig said: “It’s about the process. We take every game as it comes.
“We put the same amount of effort into every team. It leads to good results so we’re happy.”
The Kookaburras dominated all key statistics with 58-42 per cent possession along with 20-12 circle penetrations, 12-9 shots and 5-3 penalty corners. Australia converted three of their five penalty corners.
Craig added that they were motivated to finish on a high in spite of their heartbreaking loss to the Dutch.
“Losing yesterday was hard but we don’t do it because it’s easy,” Craig said. “We wanted to bring a good game-plan with energy. I thought we brought that.
“We wanted to bring it throughout every quarter. I thought we did that.”
Govers fired Australia into an eighth minute lead with a reverse stick finish after Craig’s steal in midfield.
And Craig got himself on the scoresheet a minute later when he poked home at the second attempt following Tim Brand’s cutback.
Kookaburras keeper Tyler Lovell saved well from Liam Ansell before Craig made it 3-0 in the 19th minute when he finished off a sweeping move he instigated after passes from Jake Harvie and Govers.
Govers hit the post in the 28th minute after a positive drive from co-captain Aran Zalewski as Australia dominated the first half.
The Kookaburras blitzed the English early in the third, with Trent Mitton netting his first goal of the World Cup in the 32nd minute with an upright back stick finish.
Mitton set up Brand for the fifth in the 34th minute before Brand completed his hat-trick with a cool finish for the half dozen.
England veteran Barry Middleton pulled one back on the stroke of three-quarter time with a far post finish.
Australia finished the contest on a high, with Hayward flicking low to England keeper Harry Gibson’s left in the 57th minute to make it 7-1.
Three minutes later Hayward added another, after Govers hit the post, beating Gibson again to his left from a short corner.
Australia are next in action in the inaugural FIH Pro League on Saturday 2 February against semi-final conquerors Netherlands in Melbourne.
Australia 8 (Govers 8’, Craig 9’, 19’, 35’, Mitton 32’, Brand 34’, Hayward 57’, 60’)
England 1 (Middleton 45’)