Champions Trophy:England stun Australia, Belgium beat PakistanBhubaneswar: England stunned defending champions Australia 3-1 in the inaugural match of the men's hockey Champions Trophy at the Kalinga Stadium here Saturday while Belgium snatched an opening day 2-1 victory over Pakistan to get
Bhubaneswar: England stunned defending champions Australia 3-1 in the inaugural match of the men's hockey Champions Trophy at the Kalinga Stadium here Saturday while Belgium snatched an opening day 2-1 victory over Pakistan to get their campaign up.
Underdogs England dominated throughout the match, putting regular pressure on the World champions Australian team, which struggled hard to impress.
Barry Middleton-led England started the match with constant attacking moves and surprised their opponents with highly aggressive game, which tore-apart the Australian defence.
They got their first goal when Alastair Brogdon hit the net in the early sixth minute.
Australia got stronger in the second quarter and produced a row of penalty corners but could not capitalise on the opportunities, whereas England continued their aggressive play.
Samuel Ward scored second goal for the European team in the 27th minute. At the end of the second quarter, England were quite dominant with their highly encouraged brigade.
Both the teams struggled hard to score in the third quarter.
Trailing 0-2, Australia improved their game and in the 54th minute, they were rewarded with a penalty corner that was successfully converted by Chris Ciriello.
However, Ward completed his brace with a quick counter-attack two minutes later to completely shut the door on the Graham Reid-coached Kookaburras.
In their next match, the Eddie Ockenden-led Australia will face Belgium, while England will take on Pakistan.
Thomas Briels' delightful third quarter goal helped Belgium snatch an opening day 2-1 victory over Pakistan.
The Belgians had the half time lead when Tanguy Cosyns (12th minute) scrambled home at the right post after a left wing attack spun invitingly for him.
They had the guts of the play from there on, creating eight circle entries, but were unable to break through the Pakistan defences. Tom Boon did draw a top save from Imran Butt from a high corner two minutes before the break to keep the margin at the minimum.
Pakistan improved markedly in the second half and were back on terms when a penalty corner flick hit Loick Luypaert on the body. After an umpires consultation, a penalty stroke was awarded which team captain Muhammad Imran duly converted, wrong-footing Vincent Vanasch.
But Briels restored the lead in stunning style, finishing off with a delicate flip after Tom Boon eliminated a couple of defenders with some lovely stickwork in the 43rd minute and they held on in reasonable comfort to the lead for all the points on day one.
Commenting on their win, Belgium Captain John-John Dohmen said, “We are really happy with the result as Pakistan is a really good side. We did not play great but we did not play badly but we just need to play together a bit more in the next game.”
"Tomorrow (against Australia) will be a great game for us. Playing the world champions who I think are the best team here - even though they lost today. They might be a bit angry to win this game.”
Speaking on the team's performance, Pakistan Coach Shahnaz Sheikh said, “I am very happy with the performance of the boys as after a long gap we played against an European team. It was an even game today and it was satisfying in the manner that we countered their game. We just lost it by one goal and this I think because of the inexperience on our side. We will come back strong in our next outing against England”.