Hockey: Australia thump Argentina to top Pool B

New Delhi, Jan 13 : Reigning World Champions Australia thumped Argentina 6-1 to go top of Pool B in the Hockey World League Final while World No.5 Belgium drew with the Netherlands 2-2 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here Monday.

The Kookaburras got off to a brilliant start as Dean Beale stole possession and slotted home a reverse stick goal in the third minute. Skipper Mark Knowles scored from the penalty spot in the 11th minute after a foul in the circle saw the umpire pointing to the spot without hesitation.

Three minutes later Australia went 3-0 up when Kieran Govers added to his overall tally of tournament goals in the 14th minute, scoring from a well taken shot.

Unbeaten in the tournament so far, Argentina appeared shocked by the speed of the Australian attack. The South Americans 'scored' in the 18th minute but the goal was overturned after a successful Australian referral.

Australia failed to convert from their penalty corner chances and it was Los Leones who finally managed to get on the scoreboard through Facundo Callioni in the 32nd minute.

The final minute of the first half saw Govers double his tally with a penalty corner strike to put Australia 4-1 up.

In the second half, Australia extended their lead through two goals scored from open play.

First Russell Ford followed up on a shot that had been saved by Juan Manuel Vivaldi in the Argentine goal in the 44th minute and then Kiel Brown made it six for the Kookaburras in the 48th minute.

In the other Pool B match, the Netherlands avoided a second defeat in the tournament after Jeroen Hertzberger scored a 66th minute field goal to save his side from another loss.

Earlier, Constantijn Jonker had put the Netherlands 1-0 on the board but Belgium clawed through Tom Boon and Felix Denayer to take a 2-1 lead. The first draw of the tournament means both sides earned just a point.

Australia lead the group with six points and are ahead of Argentina (six points) on a better goal difference. Netherlands ended third with four points while Belgium has earned only one point and are fourth after the third and final group match.

Pool B results: Australia beat Argentina 6-1, Netherlands draw Belgium 2-2.

--IANS (Posted on 13-01-2014)

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