The Kookaburras have narrowly missed out on second spot in
Pool B at the FIH Men’s Hockey World League Final following a third straight
draw after scores finished 2-2 with England in Bhubaneswar on Monday night.
Australia were denied the victory which would’ve seen them
leapfrog England into second, when Blake Govers’ drag flick and Daniel Beale’s
shot from the rebound both hit the post in the final seconds of the match.
The draw means Australia finishes third in Pool B, behind
Germany and England, and will meet second from Pool A in the quarter-finals on
Wednesday or Thursday.
Australia will need to wait until Tuesday night’s Pool A
matches are completed to learn their quarter-final opponent, which could be
either Spain, Argentina, Netherlands or least likely Belgium.
For the third consecutive match, Australia were made to come
from behind after conceding early.
Like Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Germany, the Kookaburras
fought back with two third-quarter goals from Dylan Wotherspoon (33’) and
Govers (41’) in his 50th game.
Australia were denied their maiden win of the tournament when
the English, in veteran Barry Middleton’s 400th game, levelled via Phil Roper
Man of the Match Matthew Swann said: "We were going for a
win today. We’ve had three games and three draws.
"This game was very important. It was also very important
for the English team with Barry Middleton with his 400th Test match. That’s
"Congratulations to him, thank you to the crowd, we’re just
happy we put on another good show.”
England started the game the better, with David Goodfield
squaring to Liam Ansell from the baseline for the opening goal in the fourth
Australia rallied and pressed for an equaliser for the
remainder of the first quarter, with third gamer Lachlan Sharp denied after a
England’s David Condon had an effort saved by Tyler Lovell,
while Govers’ drag flick from a penalty corner was also thwarted by opposition
keeper George Pinner before the break.
Australia’s pressure told in the third quarter when Swann
darted down the right and squared for Wotherspoon to convert the equaliser,
although England referred the goal which got the all-clear from the video
Pinner brilliantly denied Tom Wickham before Govers’ clever
video referral opened up an opportunity for a penalty corner, which he
converted with a powerful flick.
England pushed for a leveller early in the final term and
got on level terms when Condon found Roper for a close-range finish past
Australia had their chance to win it, with a series of
penalty corners in the 60th minute, with Govers and Beale coming closest when
they were both denied by the post.
The Kookaburras squad features five Western Australian
athletes with Tristan Clemons, Tom Wickham, Jake Harvie, Tyler Lovell and Aran Zalewski all
on representative duty.
Australia 2 (Wotherspoon 33', Govers 41')
England 2 (Ansell 4', Roper 54')