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Hockey World Cup: Australia beat France 2-0 to advance to semi-finals

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Two-time champions Australia remained on course to defend their title after storming into the semi-finals with a 3-0 victory over France at the hockey World Cup in Bhuvneshwar on Wednesday.

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Jeremy Hayward opened the scoring for the world champions, while Blake Govers (19th minute) and skipper Aran Zalewski (37th) added to the tally to bring up the victory.

But the win was far from convincing for the World No.1 side against the lower-ranked opponents, who pushed Australia to their limits and it was only sheer individual brilliance that won the game for the reigning champions.

They will now the face the winner of the quarter-final match between India and Netherlands in the semi-finals on Saturday.

Australia started well and earned their first penalty corner in the fourth minute from which Hayward put his side ahead after the ball had hit Francios Goyet’s feet.

The 20th ranked Europeans initially struggled to deal with Australia’s repeated forays into their box but slowly grew into the game and it was only from a penalty corner that Australia managed to make it 2-0.

Jack Whetton earned the second penalty corner fourth minutes in the second quarter which Govers smashed into the net.

But France had their equal opportunity to bounce back at the stroke of half-time when they were awarded their first dead ball strike. But they failed to convert meaning Australia went into the break 2-0 ahead.

The Kookaburra side won another penalty corner in the seventh minute of the third quarter and this time captain Zalewski stood up and converted to clinch the victory.

France had another opportunity from their second PC but once they failed to find the target handing Australia a comfortable victory.

Also read: India can beat any team on their day, says Glen Turner, Australia forward

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