FIH Hockey World League Final: England, Australia play out thrilling 2-2 draw
World Cup silver-medallists England survived four penalty corners in the last minute to hold World No 2 Australia to a 2-2 draw in their last league match at the Hockey World League Final.other sports Updated: Dec 04, 2017 20:26 IST
World Cup silver-medallists England survived four penalty corners in the last minute to hold World No 2 Australia to a 2-2 draw in their last league match at the Hockey World League Final here on Monday. (IND v ENG HWL updates)
The 60-minute duel between the two sides was probably the best so far in the 10-day event in terms of pace and goals.
Despite trailing 1-2 at the break, England midfielder Barry Middleton told his side to give fans back home a reason to cheer, especially when they were at the receiving end in cricket Down Under.
With this draw, world no 7 England share the top position with Germany in Pool A with four points, pushing Australia (3 pts) to the second spot.
India, with one point in two matches, are languishing at the bottom of the four-team pool. Liam Ansell and Phil Roper scored for England, whereas Dylan Wotherspoon and Blake Govers found the net for Australia.
England dominated the proceedings from the beginning, not allowing rivals to hold possession even in the midfield.
Before the three-time Olympic silver medallists Australia could find their feet, Ansell shot the first one for England from the left flank in the fourth minute.
This shook Australia, who started to press hard. However, a well-calculated England defence kept a check on the rivals’ vanguard.
Some real opportunities for Australia failed to produce good results as second keeper Harry Gibson didn’t allow them to sustain equaliser with a perfect showing under the bar.
Two penalty corner opportunities in the second quarter too went abegging. In the 23rd minute, Daniel Beale’s hit was easily cleared by Gibson.
Things began changing dramatically for Australia after a change in the ends and Dylan Wotherspoon restored parity with a smart flick in the 33rd minute.
Blake Govers brought the smile on the faces of Kookaburras again, converting a stunning penalty corner to give his team an edge over the rivals in the 41st minute.
The battle continued even after that and it looked like an Australian game. But just then Phil Roper smashed the equaliser for England in the 54th minute.
The match reached its peak in the last one minute when Australia had four back-to-back penalty corners, but they failed to dart the ball home as Gibson and his luck kept the rivals at bay.