After the heartbreaking loss against the Netherlands in the second semi-final, the Australians took to the field with the aim of securing a bronze medal in the 2018 Hockey World Cup.
England had succumbed against Belgium in the first semi-final and looked to finish the tournament strongly against the Aussies. However, all such hopes were dashed as the Kookaburras began the match on the front foot and created chances at will.
Goals from Blake Govers, Tom Craig made it 2-0 in the first quarter of the game. A brilliant team goal in the 19th min made it 3-0 for the Australians. Three goals in quick succession in the second half made it 6-0 for the top ranked team in the world.
Barry Middleton got a consolation goal for England but two more goals via penalty corners from Jeremy Hayward made the score line 8-1 in favour of Australia.
Let us take a look at the three reasons why Australia demolished England in the bronze medal match.
#3 Potent display by Australia's forwards
It was one of the best display of attacking hockey by the number 1 ranked team in the world. The England defenders, torn apart by Belgium yesterday, were expected to put up a fight as they did in the league stage against Australia.
But the Australians were out there to make a statement today. Blake Govers began the proceedings with a tomahawk from the edge of the circle. Later on, Tom Craig combined with Timothy Brand to give the Aussies a 2-0 lead.
The goal of the match came in the 19th minute as the Australian forward line put up an exhibition in counter attacking hockey. Jake Harvie made a daunting run and passed the ball to Govers who put in on a platter for Craig to score the goal.
In the second half as well, the likes of Brand, Craig and Govers were a constant threat for the England defence by troubling them with their pace and excellent off the ball movement.
#2 Tom Craig puts on a masterclass in attacking hockey
While all the spotlight was on Brand and Govers, Craig stole the limelight with a brilliant hat trick. Craig began proceedings in the 9th minute, capitalizing on a steal from Brand within the D and lifting it over the keeper to make it 2-0 for the Aussies.
Craig then scored his second goal with a tap in as Govers laid off the ball selflessly to him. He completed his hat trick in the 34th minute on a turn over as Dylan Wotherspoon stole the ball near the midline and passed it to Craig who again lifted the ball over the rushing Gibson to make it 5-0.
Apart from the goals as well, Gibson linked brilliantly with the forward line and proved to be a real menace for the English defence. Craig did not allow the English midfield time on the ball and the likes of Jack Waller and David Ames struggled to cope with him. Craig was rightly awarded the Man of the Match for his brilliant performance.
#1 England defence comes a cropper
England's defence had a poor game against Belgium in the first semi-final yesterday. Goalkeeper George Pinner, who let in 6 goals against Belgium, was replaced by Harry Gibson in this game as head coach Danny Kerry looked to tighten his defence.
England had performed amicably against the Aussies in the pool stage as they held them to 0-0 till the third quarter. But all hopes of replicating such a tight display by their defence line were dashed in the very first quarter itself as goals from Blake Govers and Tom Craig made it 2-0 within the first nine minutes of the game.
England's defence comprising of Mark Gleghorne, Mikey Hoare, Liam Sanford struggled in the game as the Aussie forward line was afforded way too much space in the attacking circle. While defending the penalty corners as well, Govers and Hayward weren’t closed down quickly enough, allowing them to get two goals past Gibson. The scoreline stands as testament to the poor defensive display from England.