World Cup: Holders Australia stay on course for semifinals

PTI| Last Updated: Jun 05, 2014, 21:52 PM IST

The Hague, Netherlands: Defending champions Australia stayed on course for the semifinals of the men`s hockey World Cup with an assertive 3-1 victory over European Cup silver medallists Belgium at the Kyocera Stadium here today.

Australia`s third successive victory gives them nine points and keeps them on top of Group A standings, followed by England on seven points from three outings after their 2-0 win over Malaysia today.

Belgium, having won their previous two matches, stay in the running with six points from three games.

Australia took a two-goal lead at the start with goals from Chris Cirello (seventh minute) and Jacob Whetton (ninth minute). Eddi Ockenden increased the lead in the first minute of the second session, but Belgium pulled one back in the 46th minute through Sebastian Dockier.

Playing tactical hockey England overcame a strong challenge from Malaysia. England enjoyed an edge from the moment Mark Gleghorne put them ahead in the fourth minute with a field goal.

Malaysia pushed them hard, forced three penalty corners and a number of other scoring chances, but failed to secure the equaliser as England hung on grimly.

Three minutes from close, Ashley Jackson placed a stinging penalty corner in the goal to seal the England victory.