Mitton Set for Milestone as Australia Face France in World Cup Quarter Final

Hockey | Published: Tue 11 December 2018

The Kookaburras will play France in the quarter finals of the 2018 Hockey World Cup in India after they topped Pool B undefeated.

 

A tense one goal victory over Ireland (2-1) in their opening clash, was followed by a convincing 3-0 win over England and an 11-0 thrashing of world number 17 China.

 

As pool winners Australia earned automatic qualification for the quarter finals and will now face a knockout match against France after they secured a 1-0 cross-over victory over China.

 

Australia is aiming to win a third consecutive World Cup crown which would end a highly successful year for the men’s team that has already seen them claim a Commonwealth Games title and victory in the last ever edition of the Champions Trophy.

 

Kookaburras co-captain Aran Zalewski said: "We’ve gone straight through to the quarter-finals which was the main goal coming in.

 

"We’ve enjoyed a break, before we knuckle down and improve on the areas we need to.”

 

Zalewski is one of four Western Australians in the Kooaburras setup and is joined by World Cup debutants Trent Mitton and Jake Harvie, along with experienced goalkeeper Tyler Lovell.

 


 

The quarter final with France represents a personal milestone for Mitton, who will represent Australia in his 150th international.

 

The Western Australian debuted for his country back in May 2010 against Egypt at the Azlan Shah Cup as a teenager, following in the footsteps of his father Grant and grandfather Don who both represented Australia.

 

He’s since won three Commonwealth Games gold medals and three Champions Trophy titles but had never competed at a World Cup or Olympics until this tournament.

 

Mitton’s father Grant was actually part of Australia’s 1986 World Cup-winning side and Trent is eyeing off his own slice of history.

 

"I’m incredibly happy and proud to be able to play my 150th game,” Mitton said.

 

"There were certainly times where I thought I wouldn’t get close to this milestone, mainly through repeated non-selections earlier in my career.

 

"Being able to play the 150th in a World Cup quarter final is pretty special as well. It will be a big game and the crowd will be huge.”

 

Mitton reflected on the numerous highlights of his career to date.

 

"Some of the best moments in my career to date would have to be the three Champions Trophy wins I’ve played in 2012, 2016 and 2018,” he said.

 

"And the three Commonwealth Games gold medals. This year’s Games on the Gold Coast were particularly special.

 

"Also I’ve been very fortunate to be able to play a fair few of those games with some of the best players our game has ever seen in Jamie Dwyer and Mark Knowles. "

 

The Australian team got together on Monday night to watch the France-China match as a group at the team hotel.

 

The side defeated China 11-0 in their final pool game on Friday night to complete a perfect group stage with three wins from three games and Mitton said the mood was positive.

 

"On the World Cup so far I think our team is going really well and there is a good feeling around the group,” Mitton said.

 

"We are looking forward to getting to the business end of the tournament which starts on Wednesday with our quarter-final.”

 

- with HockeyAus