CWG Men's Hockey: Australia demolish India's gold dream with 7-0 thrashing
New Delhi, August 8, 2022
India's hopes of the elusive Commonwealth Games hockey gold medal went up in smoke as dominant Australia deconstructed the Men in Blue with a 7-0 thrashing in Birmingham on Monday.
Blake Govers (9'), Nathan Ephraums (14', 42'), Jacob Anderson (22', 27'), Tom Wickham (26') and Flynn Ogilvie (46') scored for the winners and India should thank veteran goal keeper Sreejesh because, but for him, the scoreline would have crossed double digits.
This was the seventh successive gold for Australia in men's hockey since the sport was included in the Games in 1998. For India, this was their third silver, having earlier finished runners-up in 2010 and 2014.
India came into the final on the back of some fine performances in the group stage as they beat Ghana 11-0, drew against England 4-4, beat Canada 8-0 and Wales 4-1 followed by a 3-2 win against South Africa in the semi-final.
Just like in 2010 at Delhi, the Australians once again displayed awesome firepower before the packed stadium and by the end of the 30th minute they had turned the final into a totally one-sided affair.
Whatever plans the Indians might have had were not allowed to be implemented by the marauding Australians and from the very start the defending champions controlled the game and never let go their stranglehold over the proceedings throughout.
The Australians earned seven penalty corners and converted two but did not let India get a single penalty corner.
The Australians got off the blocks at rampaging pace, but somehow India survived the onslaught in the initial few minutes.
Australia were quick to take a 1-0 lead when they earned the third PC of the game in the 9th minute. Govers was on target this time, beating Sreejesh to the goal. They extended the lead in the 14th minute when Ephraums scored a field goal.
While the Australian strikers displayed sublime form and coordination, their defence ensured India found no space in the circle to create any scoring opportunity.
While the Indian attackers struggled to find a breakthrough, Australia went on to pump three more goals in the second quarter through Anderson (22', 27') and Wickham (26').
Trailing 0-5 at half time , the Indians had their task cut out for the third quarter when Australia returned with similar gumption as the first two quarters. Although India did not concede a goal in this quarter, they were denied any chance of scoring even though India forward Mandeep Singh and Abhishek worked some good variations but nothing came of them.
India also lost their captain Manpreet Singh midway into the game, as he walked off the pitch having suffered a massive blow on his right shoulder.
In Manpreet's absence , the onus was on Hardik and Nilakanta who had to free up space in the midfield to help forwards surge ahead. But tactical defence by Australia put immense pressure on the Indians.
Australia pumped two more goals in the final quarter. It was Ephraums who scored in the 42nd minute followed by Ogilvie's goal in the 46th minute. There was nothing India could do but watch helplessly as Australians chalked out their seventh successive title win at the Commonwealth Games.