A piece of the action in the match  between Argentina and South Africa, in a Pool A match in the Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday, January 14, 2023.
A piece of the action in the match between Argentina and South Africa, in a Pool A match in the Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday, January 14, 2023. Pankaj Yadav

Australia thrash France 8-0, Argentina pip South Africa 1-0 in Hockey World Cup

Bhubaneswar, January 14, 2023

Tom Craig and Jeremy Haywards scored three goals each as Australia, displaying tremendous firepower, drubbed France 8-0 while former Olympic champions Argentina huffed and puffed before downing spirited South Africa 1-0 in Pool A matches of the Hockey World Cup at the Kalinga Stadium here on Friday

Australia sent a warning to the other contenders with a ruthless display of powerplay and virtually reduced the match against France a one-sided affair. Tom Craig scored three field goals while Jeremy Hayward scored all off the penalty corners. Flynn Ogilvie and Tom Wickham chipped in with a goal each.

Earlier, Argentina had to battle it out before downing a resolute South Africa 1-0 in the tournament opener. Maico Casella scored the only goal of the match.

Australia was on the offensive from the very start but France put up some resistance and defended their citadel but they could not hold on to it for long and their defence collapsed like a house of cards, especially from the second quarter onwards against the repeated assaults by the Aussies.

The Kookaburras surged ahead in the 8th minute when Tom Craig found the target. But it was the closing stages of the second quarter when Australia took total control over the game as they struck three times in four minutes via Flynn Ogilvie and a brace from Jeremy Hayward to ensure they held a comfortable 4-0 half-time lead.

If France had entertained any hopes of a comeback in the second half, Australia did not give them any chance. On the other hand, the world number one team added to the misery of France with Craig scoring before Jeremy Hayward wrapped up his hat-trick as it appeared one-way traffic with Australia leading 6-0.

Craig completed his hat-trick in the closing moments of the third quarter before Tom Wickham rounded off the tally to cap off a huge win for the green-and-yellow brigade.

In the first match of the tournament, 2016 Olympic champions Argentina were made to toil by world No. 14 South Africa before emerging a 1-0 winner .

After a goalless and hard-fought first two quarters, Argentina scored the winner in the 42nd minute through a field effort from Casella Maico. It was South Africa who dominated the first quarter but failed to convert their chances into positive results. In the second quarter, Argentina came back strongly and earned three penalty corners in succession but wasted all as South Africa defended stoutly.

After the change of ends, South Africa had the first look at the goal in the form of a penalty corner but it was wasted. Argentina broke the deadlock in the 42nd minute when Casella capitalised on a counter-attack and scored a brilliant field goal from Toscani's pass.

Down a goal, South Africa came out attacking in the fourth and final quarter, but the Argentine defence stood firm, foiling their rivals' forays, and registered a hard-fought win.

Argentina will face Australia while South Africa will take on France in their next pool matches on January 16


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