Olympics 2012: Aussies, Germany join Dutch in field hockey semis
London: Australia took less than six minutes to confirm a spot in the Olympic field hockey semifinals and rub out Pakistan`s chances in Riverbank Arena on Wednesday.
The Australians scored twice in that time en route to a 7-0 drubbing. Their third win by five or more secured top spot in Pool A and a semifinal against Pool B runner-up Germany, the defending champion.
Germany advanced before its late match against New Zealand thanks to Netherlands beating South Korea 4-2 in the day`s opening match. The Koreans had to win to put pressure on the Germans, but soon found themselves down 2-0, too.
The Dutch men emulated their women in winning all five outings to head Pool B, and waited in the semifinals for the winner between Spain and Britain.
Australia coach Ric Charlesworth said he would have been happy with a third straight draw, which also would have qualified the Kookaburras for the semis. Instead, his side took out their frustrations on Pakistan for blowing a 3-0 lead and drawing with Britain on Sunday.
Liam de Young knocked in a rebound off a fifth-minute penalty corner, and moments later Matt Butturini, on his 25th birthday, was fouled and Mark Knowles nailed a penalty stroke.
Christopher Ciriello scored twice to make it 4-0 at halftime. Russell Ford, Jamie Dwyer, and Glenn Turner completed the rout.
"The score is high and that doesn`t matter, we are in the semifinals and we now have to play Germany so we have a difficult game ahead of us," Charleworth said. "Germany is physically bigger, stronger and pushes you."
Pakistan manager Akhtar Rasool Chaudhry was highly critical of his players.
"The defense and midfield were totally abolished, and the forwards could not get a single penalty corner," he said.
"This is because of bad hockey. Today was the worst game, and I have never seen Pakistan play like this before in my 43-year career."
The Netherlands admitted they weren`t sharp after already qualifying, but they were still a class above South Korea.
Mink van der Weerden`s tournament-leading sixth score off a penalty corner came in the 17th, Valentin Verga made it 2-0 off a 30-meter run and Roderick Weusthof started the second half converting from the penalty spot after being stick-tackled by captain Lee Seung-il.
Nam Hyun-woo replied for South Korea but injured himself during his penalty corner goal and was carried off. Lee Nam-yong closed the margin to one, but Koreans hopes were revived for only two more minutes, as Billy Bakker scored the closer.
"I am very confident about the way we are playing," Dutch coach Paul van Ass said. "The penalty corners are going very smoothly, the attack is going very well, as we like it. If we want we can score goals so if we go behind, we don`t get nervous and stick to the plan."
Dutch great Teun de Nooijer, who has two gold medals from four previous games, appeared in an Olympic record 33rd match, and deflected all praise,
"He is the standard in our team," Van Ass said.
The Belgians finished third in Pool B behind the Netherlands and Germany, thanks to goals by Jerome Dekeyser, Gauthier Boccard and Tom Boon.