World number one too strong for England

Eng Aus 450

England fell to their first defeat at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup earlier today at the hands of world number one side Australia. The Kookaburras put four goals past England in the first 35 minutes and despite an improved second half performance there was no way back for Bobby Crutchley’s side against a quality opposition.

The result leaves England third in Pool A and means they must beat second placed Belgium on Monday night in their final group game if they are to progress to the semi finals.

ENGLAND 0 (0)

AUSTRALIA 5 (4)
Matt Gohdes 1 (FG)
Liam De Young 13 (PC)
Jamie Dwyer 29 (FG)
Kieran Govers 35 (FG)
Aran Zalewski 38 (FG)

Speaking after the game England Head Coach Bobby Crutchley said, "We didn’t start well and that’s frustrating. When you’re forced to chase the game against someone like Australia it becomes harder and harder. When you’re chasing you are sometimes not quite good enough on the ball and in those hot conditions it becomes a real struggle. We then lost another goal before half time through a lack of concentration and that really put us on the back foot.”

“The good thing is our players really stood up in the second half and worked hard. They stood together which was great but we have to be far better at the start of a game and much more competitive.”

England Captain Barry Middleton was keen to look ahead to playing Belgium on Monday, “We won’t do anything too different from what we’ve done in the whole tournament or the last 12 months. We’ll go away and pick ourselves up from this. It’s disappointing now, but ultimately it makes no difference going into the Belgium game. We know what we have to do. We’ve played them enough over the last twelve months to know what to expect and I’m sure they know what to expect from us. It comes down to who plays well on the day and who fights in and around both circles, which is where we let ourselves down today. We need to make improvements on those things for Monday.”

In the other Pool A games of the day Belgium beat Spain 5-2 whilst India came out on top against Malaysia in a tight game which ended 3-2.

Click here to find out squad and caps information and to see the other results of the men’s tournament.

England were immediately put on the back foot by Australia in the opening minute as Matt Gohdes scored for the Kookaburras. Just a few minutes later the England team had a great opportunity to equalise in what would turn out to be perhaps their best opportunity in the game. East Grinstead’s Mark Gleghorne produced a good drag-flick off an England penalty corner, however Andrew Charter, made an important early save.

It was in the 13th minute that the Kookaburras extended their lead to 2-0; a Liam De Young score from a penalty corner rebound earned him his 35th career goal for the men in gold.

Ric Charlesworth's side were in scintillating form and England, despite getting plenty of possession never really threatened Charter in goal. Australia, on the other hand, had many opportunities to extend their lead but some good defending from Nick Catlin and Henry Weir prevented any further goals with just 10 minutes remaining in the first half.

The Kookaburras third goal came, in the 29th minute, courtesy of five times former FIH Player of the Year, Jamie Dwyer. Despite England’s referral for potential dangerous play, the video umpire saw no reason to amend the decision and the goal stood.

It was Australia’s fourth goal in the 34th minute that was without question the most impressive of the match. A beautiful arial ball into the circle found Kieran Govers who made a spectacular touch that volleyed the ball into the back of the net, past Pinner, seconds before the half-time whistle blew.

In the second half it took Australia two minutes longer to get on the score sheet than it did in the first; this time it was Kookaburras’ Aran Zalewski adding his first goal of the tournament on the 38th minute.

There were several chances for Australia to extend their lead even further, with Jamie Dwyer in particular coming close to a second goal, but England stepped up their performance to keep the Kookaburras at bay.

Despite the improved performance from Crutchley's side the damage had already been done and the Kookaburras secured a convincing 5-0 victory and a place in the World Cup Semi Finals.

England men’s next game is a must win meeting against Belgium on Monday at 1845 (BST). England’s women play tomorrow in their fourth Pool B game against Argentina at 1500 (BST).

All matches will be shown live on Sky Sports with expert analysis from a host of international stars including Kwan Browne, Richard Mantell, Helen Richardson-Walsh and Chloe Rogers.

You can find the men's and women's tournament schedules in our International Fixtures section, or all of them together here.