INDIA: Three-time champions Australia became the first team to reach the ongoing FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup semi-finals after defeating Spain 4-3 in a thrilling quarterfinal match on Tuesday at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.
Australia vs Spain
Spain attempted to break through the Australian defence right away in the first quarter, but the Australians well intercepted them before they could get into the scoring area.
AUS had three penalty corners in the third, twelfth, and fourteenth minutes, giving the Kookaburras multiple chances to score.
However, the three-time champions were unable to make use of it. Eddie Ockenden and Blake Grover both missed opportunities to score. Spain and Australia were scoreless at the end of the first quarter.
Spain took the lead five minutes into the second quarter when Xavier Gispert scored with a sharp sweep.
Spain took a two-goal lead in the 23rd minute thanks to a shot from Marc Recasens that he deflected into the far post.
In the 29th minute, Flynn Ogilvie scored with a shot that went past the Spanish goalkeeper Rafi. Spain held a 2-1 lead at the end of the second quarter and first half. In the third quarter, Australia changed the match’s entire scenario in six minutes.
Australia took the lead for the first time in the match thanks to goals from Aran Zalewski in the 31st minute and two successful PC conversions from Jeremy Hayward in the 32nd and 36th minutes.
After his team had a chance to score in the 40th minute, thanks to a bad tackle in the circle, Spain captain Miralles Marc turned a penalty corner into a goal.
In the 44th minute, the referee handed Gerard Clapes a yellow card, and Spain was down to ten men for two minutes. The score read 4-3 in favour of the Aussies at the end of the eventful third quarter.
In the 55th minute, Australia’s Sharp Lachlan received a green card and was taken off the field for two minutes.
Spain got a PC in the same minute, but they didn’t do much with it as the final quarter ended goalless. Australia, a three-time champion, advanced to the semi-finals after holding their nerves in the seven-goal thriller.