Australia remain in contention to win a sixth successive Champions Trophy title this weekend after sealing their place in Saturday’s semi finals with a 4-2 win over Argentina in a must-win quarter-final. Last edition’s Bronze Medalists Pakistan defeated Netherlands 4-2 to seal a place in semi-final of Hero Hockey Champions Trophy 2014 in Bhubaneswar.
Australia will face the winner of England vs Germany semi-finals to be played on Saturday (Full Schedule here). With Pakistan coming through to semis and possibility of facing the India (if the hosts beat Belgium in quarter-final), builds up the excitement in the tournament.
Pakistan would like to play against #India in Semi-final for revival of South Asian classic hockey said Pakistan Coach Sehnaz Seikh after win over Netherlads, “Today, this was a real Pakistan style of play. Let’s not go by the last 3 matches, we were experimenting many things. Today the tournament started for us and we came back strong on the opponents. The 9/11 style of play proved to benefit us where we attacked with 9 players and defended with 11. We would like to play against India in Semi-final for revival of South Asian classic hockey.“
For Pakistan, It was their first win over the Dutch in the Champions Trophy in 12 attempts, a run dating back to 1998. The Dutch got off to a flying start with Jeroen Hertzberger powering home from mid-circle. His initial run had been half-stopped but squirted back into his path and he did the rest in the fifth minute.
Soon after, Muhammad Imran brilliantly saved a Mink van der Weerden drag-flick off the line as the Dutch dominated possession and territory. But Pakistan was playing a clever counter-attack game which began to yield dividends. Muhammad Waqas created the equaliser with his right-wing work unlocking the door for Muhammand Tousiq to scramble home early in the second quarter. Muhammad Rizwan Senior then drew a brilliant save from Jaap Stockman but 2-1 did arrive a minute before the break when Imran fired low past the Dutch goalkeeper.
The Netherlands had more control after the big break and got their reward 38 minutes in when Rogier Hofman’s driven cross from the right flank picked out Constantijn Jonker for a handy finish. But Pakistan still had an ace up their sleeve and, from their most sustained spell of pressure, went ahead for a second time from a clever corner move, laying the ball into the path of Muhammad Irfan to flick high into the net. Then, when the Dutch fluffed a corner of their own, Pakistan countered to win another set piece which Irfan applied the killer touch.
Simon Orchard’s 50th goal for Australia gave the Kookaburras the perfect start, although they had to work for the result after falling behind shortly after half time. Argentina captain Matias Paredes levelled the scores immediately after quarter time and Manuel Brunet put Los Leones ahead five minutes into the second half. But Australia were behind for just two minutes before Jeremy Hayward rifled a penalty corner home for 2-2.
Daniel Beale then swept home to put the Kookaburras back in front and Chris Ciriello doubled the advantage with a trademark penalty corner flick low into the bottom corner with just over ten minutes remaining.
The Kookaburras will face the winner of the quarter-final between European rivals England and Germany while Pakistan, who shocked World Cup silver medallists, the Netherlands, 4-2, will face either Belgium or India in the second semi final.