Bhubaneswar (Odisha) [India], January 24 (ANI): Three-time champions Australia became the first team to reach the semifinals of the ongoing FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup, defeating Spain by 4-3 in a thrilling quarterfinal match at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Tuesday.
In the first quarter, Spain tried to make immediate inroads into the Australian defence but were intercepted well by the Aussies before they could penetrate the scoring area. Australia got multiple opportunities to score, including three penalty corners in the third, 12th and 14th minutes. But the three-time champions failed to capitalise on it. Blake Grover and Eddie Ockenden failed to score in every chance they could get. At the end of the first quarter, Australia and Spain were goalless.
Five minutes into the second quarter, Spain took the lead in the 19th minute, with Xavier Gispert coming through with an angular sweep. A 23rd-minute strike from Marc Recasens, which saw him deflect the ball into the far post, doubled Spain’s lead. Flynn Ogilvie came with a strike in the 29th minute, that deceived the Spanish goalkeeper Rafi. At the end of the second quarter and first half, Spain led the game by 2-1.
In the third quarter, it took barely six minutes for Australia to change the whole scenario of the match. Goals from Aran Zalewski (31st minute) and two successful PC conversions from Jeremy Hayward in the 32nd and 36th minute brought Australia into the lead for the first time in the match. The scoreline read 4-2.
In the 40th minute, Spain skipper Miralles Marc converted a penalty corner into a goal after a bad tackle in the circle helped his side get a chance at scoring.
The scoreline read 4-3 in favour of Australia at the end of the third quarter. Gerard Clapes got a green card in the 44th minute and Spain was down to ten men for two minutes. The final quarter was goalless. Sharp Lachlan of Australia got a green card in the 55th minute and he was out of the field for two minutes. Spain got a PC in 55th minute, but could not make much of it. With this, three-time champions Australia cruised to the semifinals.