Star forward Blake Govers scored four times, including from a penalty stroke, as title contenders Australia thrashed South Africa 9-2 to top Pool A and directly qualify for the quarterfinals of the FIH Men’s World Cup here on Friday.
Australia will face the winner of the crossover match between Malaysia and Spain in the quarterfinal match on January 24 in Bhubaneswar.
Govers struck in the fourth, 15th, 19th and 20th minutes as the rampaging Australians led 7-1 at half time. His first and fourth strikes were field goals while the second one was from a penalty corner and the third from the penalty spot.
Tom Craig (10th), Jake Harvie (22nd), Daniel Beale (28th), Jeremy Hayward (32nd) and Tim Brand (47th) were the other Australian goal getters at the Birsa Munda Stadium.
Ntuli Nqobile (8th) and Kok Tevin (58th) were the scorers — both field goals — for South Africa.
The Kookaburras slowed down a bit in the third and fourth quarters, just scoring a goal each. The fourth quarter saw both sides scoring a goal each.
Five of the Australian goals were field efforts while three were from the penalty corners. Australia earned eight PCs as against five of the South Africans.
In another Pool A match, Argentina and France scored a goal each in the final minute to play out a 5-5 draw in a dramatic contest.
Argentina finished second in the pool with five points from three matches — one win and two draws — while France ended at third with four points — one win, one draw and one loss.
Argentina will play the third place team in Pool B in their crossover match on January 22 in Bhubaneswar while France will take on the second place team in Pool B the next day.
France thought they had won the match 5-4 after Victor Charlet scored in the final minute from the penalty stroke but Argentina equalised after a few seconds through a penalty corner. Argentina earned four penalty corners in succession and scored from the last one to split points with France.
Charlet (36th, 38th, 48th and 60th) struck four goals for France with two coming from penalty strokes. His first and last were from penalty strokes while the second and third were from PCs. Tynevez Etienne scored the other goal for France in the 11th minute.
For Argentina, who had played out a 3-3 draw against pool topper Australia, Nicolas Della Torre (34th, 42nd and 60th) struck a hat-trick while Keenan Nicolas (3rd) and Martin Ferreiro (51st) were the other goal scorers.
The Netherlands and England also booked direct quarterfinal berths after topping Pool C and Pool D respectively on Thursday.