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World champions Australia spike Pakistan’s challenge 6-1


Antwerp (Belgium):  World champions Australia displayed their prowess in a 6-1 drubbing of Pakistan in the preliminary league of the hockey World League Semifinals at the KHC Dragons Stadium here.

Picking up full points from their second consecutive win in Pool A, Australia took the top spot in the pool last night. Australia and India have won both their matches, but Australia’s 10-goal rout of France have given them a superior goal-difference.

Pakistan, with a 2-1 win over Poland in their previous outings, now head into tomorrow’s contest against India.

For Pakistan this tournament is the last opportunity to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, having lost the Asian Games gold medal to India, who became the first team to secure passage to the quadrennial Olympics.

Three Olympic qualification spots are available to the top-placed teams in this competition, but some teams ranked slightly lower may also get a chance if any of the countries also feature in the five places available to winners of continental tournaments.

Pakistan had failed to feature in the 2014 World Cup, an event that they have more times than any other country.

Australia were the dominant team from the start, forcing their first penalty corner in the second minute and surging into the initial lead a minute later through Jacob Whetton’s flash striker in open play.

Pakistan got the equaliser against the run of play when Muhammad Irfan deflected in a penalty corner shot from captain Muhammad Imran in a deft set-piece execution.

After being 1-1 level at half-time, Australia stamped their authority with five more goals.

Daniel Beale capitalised a set-piece penalty corner attempt in the 32nd minute, followed by field goals from Matthew Swann in the 41st and Jamie Dwyer in the 49th.

Blake Govers then got into goal-scoring action with two penalty corner conversions in the 54th and 58th minutes.

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