Hockey World Cup 2018, Australia vs China: 3 Standout Players from the match
Colin Batch and his troops -- being the World No. 1 -- were always the favourites to win the match.
The coach had demanded a more consistent game from his boys as they had quite a few nervy moments in their previous two matches (against Ireland and England) even though they went on to win them.
His expectations surpassed by his boys as The Kookaburras had a much more fluent game and played with real gusto. They were in cruise control throughout the 60 minutes and handed China an 11-0 thrashing.
The tie held more importance for China than it did for Australia. The Kookaburras were already through to the quarterfinal stages after getting the six points from their first two games.
However, Kim Sang-Ryul's side were completely outdone by their far superior opponents.
The Australians were right into the business and not taking the game loosely at all. They made quite a few chances early on and dominated the possession.
The Chinese also started well and were pressing high up, ensuring that their opponents do not get the momentum. However, it was all the Men in Yellow once they got the first breakthrough.
It was a high scoring blitz henceforth and a goal fest for the spectators present at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneshwar. Once Australia got flowing, then they were just too hard to defend and were just ruthless for the opposition.
Blake Govers, Aran Zalewski, Thomas Craig, Jeremy Hayward, Jake Whetton, Timothy 'Tim' Brand, Dylan Wotherspoon, and Flynn Ogilvie -- all found the back of the net in the thrilling match against China.
How many times do you see 8 different names on the scoresheet during a hockey match? That too at the biggest stage in the World Cup.
An 11-0 win meant that Australia came close to breaking their own World Cup record of the biggest win they had set in 2010 (after defeating South Africa 12-0).
It is an extremely difficult task chalking out the 3 standout players from this match as the Australians were all marvelous on the field and the talent they displayed was no less than a spectacle for the viewers.
Here are the three players who made a huge impact in the game:
#3 Jeremy Hayward (Australia)
Hayward was always in the thick of things. The Aussies won 3 back-to-back Penalty corners in the 22nd minute.
As Govers was not on the field, Jeremy was the drag-flicker. The 25-year-old defender got it right in his third attempt and fired in a low shot towards the bottom right corner past China's goalkeeper Wang Caiyu.
The youngster also made plenty of crucial interceptions throughout the game. His movement and reading of the game was exquisite.
Hayward did all the hard work to snatch the ball from a Chinese player, make a well-timed run, and then lay it off to Blake Govers -- who fired it in the back of the net to complete his hat-trick.
There was never a dull moment whenever Hayward had the ball as he worked tirelessly to help his team to such a good result.
His positive intent is sure to help the Aussies in the coming games as well and Colin Batch would be proud of his performance.