Tom Craig and Jeremy Haywards scored three goals each as Australia displaying tremendous firepower drubbed France 8-0 while former Olympic champion Argentina huffed and puffed before downing spirited South Africa 1-0 in a Pool A matches of the Hockey World Cup at Kalinga Stadium here on Friday
Australia sent a warning to the other contenders with a ruthless display of powerplay and virtually reduced the match against France a one-sided affair. Tom Craig scored three field goals while Jeremy Hayward scored all off the penalty corners. Flynn Ogilvie and Tom Wickham chipped in with a goal each.
Earlier, Argentina had to battle it out before downing resolute South Africa 1-0 in the tournament opener. Maico Casella scored the only goal of the match.
Australia was on the offensive from the very start but France put up some resistance and defended their citadel but they could not hold on to it for long and their defence collapsed like house of cards especially in the second quarter on wards against the repeated assaults by the Aussies.
The Kookaburras, surged ahead in the 8th minute when Tom Craig found the target. But it was the closing stages of the second quarter when Australia took total control over the game as they struck three times in four minutes via Flynn Ogilvie and a brace from Jeremy Hayward to ensure they held a comfortable 4-0 half-time lead.
If France had entertained any comeback of hope of come back in the second half, Australia did not give them any chance, on the other hand world number one team added to the misery of France with Tom Craig scoring before Jeremy Hayward wrapped up his hat-trick as it appeared one-way traffic with Australia leading 6-0.
Tom Craig completed his hat-trick in the closing moments of the third quarter before Tom Wickham rounded off the tally to cap off a huge win for the green-and-yellow brigade.
In the first match of the tournament ,2016 Olympic champions Argentina was made to toil by world No.14 South Africa before emerging a 1-0 winner .
After a goalless and hard-fought first two quarters, Argentina, scored the winner in the 42nd minute through a field effort from Casella Maico. But it was South Africa who dominated the first quarter but failed to convert their chances into positive results. In the second quarter, Argentina came back strongly and earned three penalty corners in succession but wasted all as South Africa defended stoutly.
After the change of ends, South Africa had the first look at the goal in the form of a penalty corner but it was wasted. Argentina broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute when Casella capitalised on a counter-attack and scored a brilliant field goal from Toscani’s pass.
Down a goal, South Africa came out attacking in the fourth and final quarter, but the Argentine defence stood firm foiling their rivals’ forays and register a hard-fought win.
Argentina will face Australia while South Africa will take on France in their next pool match on January 16