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Hockey WC: Australia thrash France 8-0; Argentina, England also start campaign with wins

Bhubaneswar: Defender Jeremy Hayward scored a hat-trick as Australia thrashed France 8-0 to open their World Cup campaign with a bang in Group A clash at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday.
The 29-year-old Hayward struck in the 26th, 28th and 38th minutes with all goals coming via penalty corners. Midfielder Tom Craig also scored a hat-trick as he found the back of the net in the 8th, 31st and 45th minute. Wickham and Ogilvie Flynn struck one goal each.
The world number one team were forced to survive some nervy moments before Craig scored his first in the ninth minute when he started and finished a move, feeding the ball to Tim Brand from the edge of the circle before getting it back. He produced an expert touch to beat France goalkeeper Arthur Thieffry.
Hayward had a drag flick saved by Thieffry and the goalkeeper then managed to keep out the rebound from Nathan Ephraums to prevent the Kookaburras from quickly doubling the advantage.
Andrew Charter was called into action at the other end when he pulled off a sharp reflex save from a reverse shot by Viktor Lockwood with seven minutes to go until halftime.

A flurry of three Kookaburras goals in quick succession just before halftime then blew the game open.
First, persistence from Ogilvie saw him breach France's defences for the second time before Hayward struck twice within two minutes to put the Kookaburras in a commanding position.
Kookaburras was clinical, capitalising on four of their six shots on goal in the opening half.
Craig had his second goal two minutes after the resumption and when another rocket drag flick from Hayward made it 6-0 in the 39th minute to bring up his hat-trick, France were well and truly on the ropes.
Kookaburras continued to threaten and Craig joined the hat-trick club with another well-executed finish in the shadows of three-quarter time.
Wickham rounded off the comprehensive result when he scooped the ball home on the reverse in the 54th minute.
Argentina also edged past South Africa 1-0 in the Group A encounter after Maico Casella scored in the 43rd minute for the Argentine team.

For the first two quarters, Argentina struggled against South Africa's resilient defence and were unable to find the opening goal.
The third quarter saw the Argentine team speed up the attack which saw them finally find the goal to take the lead. South Africa lacked in attack and could not find the equalizer as they succumbed to their first defeat in the 2023 Hockey World Cup.
England put in a clinical performance to defeat Wales 5-0 and began their 2023 Hockey World Cup campaign with a win in the Group D encounter at the Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela on Friday.
The team led by Ames David put in a dominant display to secure a formidable win. Park Nicholas' field goal gave England an early advantage in the first minute of play, and they added one goal each in the first and second quarters.
After the break, the English team scored twice in the third quarter. Ansell Liam helped England increase their lead to 3-0 by successfully converting two penalty corners on either side of halftime (at 27' and 37'). Field goals from Roper Phil (41') and Bandurak Nicholas (57') helped the English team finish 5-0.
The Wales team was making their debut at the Hockey World Cup and English team dictated the terms during the match. (ANI)

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