The draw between India and Belgium in the ongoing Hockey World Cup made both the teams wait until the last pool match for securing entry into the quarter-finals. Though Malaysia and Pakistan hockey teams lost their opening matches, the players left indelible examples of fine performance.
If on one hand Malaysian goalkeeper Kumar Subramanian saved several attacks, on the other hand Pakistan team presented rigid resistance against Germany. Quite contrary to them, the biggest surprise was by far the Irish presentation against the defending champions Australia.
The Australian hockey team remained the ultimate winners on the usual astro turf, the fine efforts on part of the Irish hockey players earned them several rounds of applause till the end of the match. Australian hockey players were made to huff and puff against Ireland. Their victory was more or less insignificant. It was an amazing display during the Pool ‘B’ match between both the teams at Kalinga stadium a few days ago.
For Australia, it was said that half of the team players were running in the field for the first time. They were in the process of improving their efficiency. The fans missed seeing the team put their best foot forward while controlling the ball. They looked partially occupied on moves taking place in the field. They indeed required more attention to this area. Their forward line was failing below expectations.
Well, it was as if desperate times call for Australia with desperate measures and its desperation ended with a win following the second goal over a rebound. Even the goalkeeper said that Irish players played well and gave us a tough challenge.
Ireland made two brave attempts in the initial three minutes, both from the right and the left flanks. While Australia secured the first penalty corner in the first eleven minutes, it was of no avail. It converted the second penalty corner into the goal.
However, the brilliancy of the game was the quick equaliser by Ireland in the 13th minute. Upon collecting a fine pass from Eugene Magee on the left side, Shane O’ Donohue scored the goal. Australia missed two penalty corners in the second half.
Was it worth accepting from a strong team? In the 33 minutes, Australia’s Timothy Brand possessing a pass from Blake Govers attempted to send the moving ball into the goalpost but the goalkeeper ably saved the shot.
Without losing his attacking concentration, his reverse hit changed the score of the game. That was why Irish captain David Harte expressed disappointment at the sudden and big loss.