An injury-hit India proved no match to defending champions Australia as it lost 0-3 in a lop-sided semifinal clash today and will now have to fight it out for a bronze in the Champions Trophy hockey tournament here.
Australia scored through captain Jamie Dwyer (fifth and 18th minutes) and Kieran Govers (42nd) after enjoying territorial domination against the Indians, who were often forced to fall back and defend against the rampant rival strikers.
Australia stayed on course for their fifth successive title, setting up a final against Olympic silver medalists Netherlands, who outplayed Pakistan 5-2 in the other semifinal.
Bronze hopes alive
India's Cinderella-run came to an end, but they stay in contention for their first Champions Trophy medal in three decades. India will take on Pakistan, in a sub-continental clash on Sunday for the bronze medal.
India's only Champions Trophy medal, a bronze, came in 1982. Pakistan edged past India to claim bronze medals for three successive years from 2002-04.
Playing a fast dominant game, Australia today pressed the accelerator from the beginning and forced their first penalty corner in the second minute, but Christopher Ciriello's rising shot was ruled as a foul for going into onrushing defender's body.
Dwyer opened the scoring in the fifth minute, capitalising on a rebound during Australia's second penalty, after Ciriello's drag-flick was blocked by a defender. The Aussies increased the lead in the 18th minute by converting a penalty stroke, which was awarded when a foul was committed on Dwyer in a scoring position.
Earlier, Olympic silver medallists Netherlands secured passage into the final after a gap of six years. The Dutch, eight-time Champions Trophy title winners, dominated the semifinal throughout to surge into the final for the first time since they won the title in 2006 in Spain.
Olympic champions Germany will play Champions Trophy debutants Belgium for the fifth spot
Sardar misses out on an award
Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh on Saturday missed out on the FIH player of the year award which was won by Moritz Fuerste. Fuerste, captain of the German team that won the Olympic gold medal, was picked as the most outstanding player from a field that included Jamie Dwyer (Australia), Robert van der Horst (Netherlands), Tobias Hauke (Germany) and Sardar.