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Australia wins hockey semi-finals spot

Friday, January 17, 2014

DELHI - The Australian men's hockey team have claimed a top-four spot at the World League Finals in Delhi with a crushing 7-2 win over India.

After being dominated in the early stages of the game, the Kookaburras came back with a vengeance to destroy the host side in yesterday's quarter-final, and set up a semi-final against the Netherlands.

India's Birendra Lakra opened the scoring in the sixth minute, and five minutes later Yuvraj Walmiki took the score to 2-0.

But things went downhill for the world champions from there, as Nicholas Budgeon put Australia's first point on the board, before Jason Wilson found the net again to even the score.

Glenn Turner marked his 100th game for Australia by scoring in the final minute of the first half to give his side a 3-2 lead going into the break.

Australia quickly assumed dominance in the second half, as Russell Ford extended the lead in the 40th minute.

Simon Orchard followed, and Ford scored again less than three minutes later.

Less than six minutes from full time, Jacob Whetton put the final nail in the coffin taking the scoreline to 7-2.

Coach Ric Charlesworth said afterwards that it was a messy start to the game, but a "terrific, solid performance through the middle".

"Some brilliant hockey was played and anybody who saw that would have been impressed by some of the skill," he said.

"A lot of goals were so well constructed it was simply a case of pushing into an empty goal.

"They were the best chances and you don't usually get so many of them."

Charlesworth said he expects a difficult task in the semi-final as his side go up against the Netherlands, who defeated Olympic and European champions Germany in their quarter-final.

"It will be a different sort of game, very tough. We know and expect that."

Meanwhile, in the other semi-final England, who downed Belgium 1-0, will face New Zealand, who beat Argentina in a shoot-out after their game finished

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