World hockey champs Australia thrash Spain

India suffer second defeat, Pakistan beat Argentina

World champions Australia routed 2008 Olympic silver medallists Spain 5-0 in men's Olympic field hockey on Wednesday, as hosts Great Britain were held by South Africa.

Opening up Spain's defence with frequent interchanges, Australia posted their second straight win to stay on top of Pool A with six points.

The Netherlands also took their points tally to six from two outings in Pool B after posting a hard-earned 3-1 victory over Belgium, with their last goal coming in the final minute.

Australia opened the scoring in the ninth minute through Russell Ford who deflected in a ball from Mark Knowles. Matthew Butturini was on target five minutes later after creating space.

Simon Orchard's field goal in the 29th minute gave Australia a 3-0 lead at half-time.

Glenn Turner collected a long pass on top of the circle to slam past the goalkeeper in the 40th minute and Edward Ockenden rounded off the scoring with a penalty corner conversion in the 69th minute.

Ockenden, Australia's captain, said the team had played better than in their 6-0 win over South Africa on Monday.

"The free-flowing play is what we like to do, but it doesn't always work out like that," said Ockenden.

Spain, who now have just one point from two matches, saw seasoned player Pol Amat going off the pitch after colliding with an Australian defender.

Amat's injury came after Spain's star striker, Santi Freixa, suffered a fracture in the last match against Pakistan. Freixa has been ruled out of the tournament and replaced on the Spanish team roster.

"We'll see what happens to Pol. Without him and Santi it might get tougher for us," said Spanish goalkeeper Francisco Cortes.

Mink van der Weerden converted two penalty corners for the Netherlands against Belgium.

After a goalless first half, he scored seven minutes into the second session, but Belgium equalised with a penalty corner goal of their own by Jerome Dekeyser in the 58th minute.

Van der Weerden's second goal, four minutes later, put the Dutch ahead again, but they came under sustained pressure as Belgium opted for all-out attack, even taking their goalkeeper off the pitch.

The Dutch got their third goal with just 17 seconds left on the clock when Felix Denayer shot into an open goal on a breakaway move.

"We had enough control to take the goalkeeper off, but then gave it away," said Belgium coach Colin Batch. "We wanted a draw but we did not play that phase well."

British teams dropped their first point when the men's side were held to a 2-2 Pool A draw by South Africa, the lowest ranked team, who came within six minutes of a rare Olympic victory before conceding an equaliser.

And India suffered their second successive Pool B defeat when they were outplayed by New Zealand, losing 3-1.

Sandeep Singh's second-minute penalty corner goal gave them an early lead  but New Zealand came back strongly to score three goals inside half-an-hour.

Andrew Hayward equalised with a penalty corner goal in the 12th minute, Phillip Burrows flicked in a penalty stroke in the 24th and Nicholas Wilson capitalised on a pass inside the circle in the 29th. 

Meanwhile in Pool A, Pakistan beat Argentina 1-0 thanks to a first-half goal from Fareed Ahmed.

Defending champions Germany beat South Korea 1-0 for their second win to join Netherlands at the top of Group B.

In a close game, Korea had three good chances to score including one to Hyo Sik You in the penultimate minute.

Germany's goal was scored by Christopher Zeller in the 33rd minute. His corner shot rocketed into goal high off the woodwork.

 

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