Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Australia checks into semis, and Olympics...

WORLD No 1 Australia frolicked in scorching heat to become the first team to qualify for the semi-finals of the World League in Antwerp, when they edged Ireland 4-1 at the KHC Dragons Stadium.
  And the Aussies also virtually checked into the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, as the top three are assured, while the fourth team will also qualify via double qualifications.
  It was a windy and 32 degree Celsius day, and officially the first day of summer in Belgium, and the Irish wilted under the sun.
  However, it was not before Ireland defended gallantly and Australia could only open scoring in the 22nd minute, when Mat Gohdes beautifully trapped a penalty corner rebound, and hit a cricket shot back into the goalmouth.
  At the half-time interview, both Ireland and Australian coaches Craig Fulton and Graham Reid respectively said their players must be patience in the second half.
   Australia were more patience, and worked themselves up the ladder with three more beautiful goals to deny a fighting Irish their moment in the sun.
   Jamie Dwyer (45th), Simon Orchard (55th) and Blake Govers (55th) wrapped up the match for Australia, while the Irish consolation was scored by Shane O'Donoghue (57th).
  Dwyer, 36 years old, will be playing in his fourth Olympics, after winning gold with Australia in 2004 Athens, and two bronze medals in 2008 Beijing, and 2012 London. He has also played in four World Cups since 2002 in Kuala Lumpur.
  "We have qualified have we,? asked Dwyer who scored the second goal to easy some pressure.
  "It wasn't easy as it was about 36 degrees on the pitch, and credit to Ireland who made it tough for us. Yes, it would be my fourth Olympics. We have achieved the first stage, now to go up higher in this tournament (winning gold)," said the 5' 7" Australian terror.
   In the semi-finals, Australia will meet either Britain or Pakistan, who play in their other quarter-finals.