Rabobank Hockey World Cup: Day Three Round Up.

Australia and the Netherlands flexed their muscles once again, whilst England were made to work hard and Korea sprang a surprise. Get all the run down on today’s World Cup action here!

Women’s Pool A: Australia 3-2 Japan.
Anna Flanagan struck two penalty corners to take her tournament tally to four in two games and earn Australia their second win of the competition over a stubborn Japanese side that would not lie down.

The Japanese took the lead in the 20th minute. Akane Shibata showed excellent skills and determination to get away down the right before feeding Yuri Nagai who shot through Ashlee Wells to make it 1-0. Australia were frustrated by a fine save from Yuka Yoshikawa and looked like they’d go in at the break behind but then up stepped Flanagan on the stroke of half time to beat the goalkeeper with a low drag flick.

Adam Commens’ side took the lead six minutes after the break. Jane Claxton did well to break free down the left and crossed for Emily Smith sliding in to apply an excellent finish. Two minutes later, Flanagan notched her second of the match and her fourth of the tournament with an absolute peach. She ripped a drag flick right into the top corner giving the goalkeeper no chance.

Shiho Sakai reduced the arrears with a penalty stroke  13 minutes from time but Australia who had ten shots to Japan’s three in the 70 minutes were good value for their win despite the close score line.

Men’s Pool A: Australia 3-0 Spain.
Three goals in the first half from a ruthless Australia ensured this one was done and dusted by half time. Tim Deavin got Australia off and running in the second minute with a close range reverse stick effort after he was allowed time and space in the Spanish D. After ten minutes Mark Knowles calmly despatched a penalty stroke to double the lead. Knowles spurned the chance to make it 3-0 in the 19th minute, crashing another penalty stroke onto the bar. Knowles needn’t have worried, however. Two minutes before the break Kieran Govers made it 3-0 with a low penalty corner past the goalkeeper to his right.

Matt Gohdes and Jake Whetton went close in the second half but in truth Australia never needed to extend themselves and picked up a comfortable second win of the tournament.

Women’s Pool A: Korea 1-0 New Zealand.
A splendid goal from Kim Darae was enough for Korea to see off the challenge of the Blacksticks and pick up what was to some, a surprise win in their Pool A match. Darae’s deflection from a left wing cross five minute before the break found the net via both post and bar and was just reward for a bright opening half from the world No11 side. Park Mihyun was her usual dangerous self and went close on more than one occasion, being kept out well by Kiwi goalkeeper Sally Rutherford.

Korea spurned two good opportunities to extend their lead and were almost left to rue their wastefulness in front of goal as Jang Soo Ji was called upon to keep out Anita Punt from a penalty corner and then again from open play. Korea held off the challenge and celebrated their first three points of the competition.

Men’s Pool A: England 2-1 India.

Full match report here.

Men’s Pool A: Malaysia 2-6 Belgium.
Tom Boon stole the show in a hugely entertaining game, netting four times to give Belgium a stunning 6-2 win over Malaysia. Having conceded four times in their opening match with Australia, Malaysia must have hoped for a tighter affair in this game, but Boon and his teammates had other ideas and swept in six goals to condemn their rivals to the bottom of the pool.

Malaysia took the lead in the fourth minute through a Rahim Razie penalty corner but his effort was cancelled out eight minutes later with Boon’s first from the penalty spot. Razie re-established the lead from another penalty corner five minutes later but then Boon took centre stage. He fired home a trademark penalty corner and then sent a shot from open play searing into the net. Tanguy Cosyns got in on the act two minutes after the break from a penalty corner before Boon scored his fourth and probably the best of the lot. He was kept out twice by the goalkeeper in quick succession only to pick up the loose ball, work some space and crash a wonderful shot off the reverse stick into the bottom corner. John-John Dohmen made it six with a late goal to put a gloss on the score and Belgium moved level with Australia at the top of the pool.

Women’s Pool A: Netherlands 4-0 Belgium.
An enthusiastic home crowd were treated to a goal fest by the Dutch women for the second game in a row as the hosts swept aside neighbours Belgium, netting four unanswered goals. Despite a splendid display of goalkeeping from Belgium’s Aisling D’Hooghe the Dutch were still able to make it two wins from two as Ellen Hoog, Marloes Keetels, Maartje Paumen and Roos Drost did the damage all, sewing up the points with 20 minutes still to play.

The first goal from Hoog was a beauty. Naomi Van As reached the baseline on the right with a lovely run and cut the ball back to near the top of the D. Hoog brought it onto her backhand and found the net with a searing strike. Hoog turned provider for the second goal and it was her cross that was slotted home with minimal fuss by Keetels from close range. Paumen got her goal from the penalty spot and then there was enough time for Drost to add her name to the score sheet with a calm finish after Eva de Goede’s penalty corner had been saved.

The Dutch are looking ominous, racking up the goals in their opening two games. Will they continue their great run against New Zealand in the next match?

Keep checking back on TheTopoftheD.com for all the latest updates from the World Cup.

About thetopofthed

Columnist for The Hockey Paper and the man behind The Top of the D. Writer, podcaster, goalkeeper and BBC Sport man. Used to work for Great Britain Hockey and have covered the sport at every major tournament.
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