Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Australia proved why they are one of the favourites to win the title of the ongoing FIH Odisha Men's Hockey World Cup 2023 as they put up a dominating display to pummel a hapless France 8-0 in a lop-sided Pool A match at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar on Friday.

The Australians started the match aggressively by exerting huge pressure on France. They earned their first penalty corner in the eighth minute, but failed to capitalise. However, Craig Tom opened the account for them with a fierce field goal in as early as the ninth minute of the match. 

They created two back-to-back penalty corner chances in the 12th minute of the match, but failed to convert. They finished the first quarter with 1-0 lead in their favour. 

France tried their best to crawl back into the match in the second quarter. They earned as many as three back-to-back penalty corners in the 22nd minute, but could not pierce the strong defence of the opponents. Australia retaliated immediately as Ogilvie Flynn struck a brilliant field goal in the 26th minute to double their lead. 

Jeremy Hayward trippled the lead in the same minute as the Australians continued with their dominating display. Australia were awarded with another penalty corner because of their attacking instinct in the 28th minute and Hayward duly completed his brace. It was the fourth goal of the Australians at the end of the first half.

The second half also belonged to the Australians. Tom completed his brace and increased his team's goal tally to five just into the first minute of the third quarter. The rain of goals continued to drench Kalinga Stadium as Hayward converted a penalty corner in the 38th minute and it was goal number for the Australian team. Tom completed his hat-trick in the 44th minute to finish the quarter 7-0 in Australia's favour.

It was the turn of Wickham Tom to make it 8-0 for Australia through a scintillating goal in the 53rd minute and seal the fate of the lop-sided match.