It seemed like the World Champions were gifted a club-like opposition – Pakistan fell behind against Australia in the second minute and there was no respite for them until the 70th.
The 7-0 rout sealed Australia’s progress to the semi-finals and condemned Pakistan to a position match, the haplessness visible on their faces and minds as they trudged off the field after their biggest Olympics defeat.
Australia scored four goals in the first half and added three more ahead of their knockout clash against Germany. Chris Ciriello was the chief tormentor with a brace, while M Knowles, J Dwyer, R Ford, G Turner and L De Young were the other goal scorers. It was a poor performance from Pakistan who, despite creating a couple of chances, failed to pose any real threat.
Goal-keeper Imran Shah, preferred over the experienced Salman Akbar, had a day to forget as Pakistan concluded the group stage conceding 16 goals in five matches. Pakistan also failed to take a single penalty-corner in the important clash.
Blunders caused heavy defeat: Junaid
Pakistan coach Khwaja Junaid said his players displayed a below-par performance in the match.
“They did not play up to their potential,” Junaid told The Express Tribune from the Riverbank Arena in London after the loss. “They failed to execute the plan and kept on repeating their mistakes. You can’t expect mercy from the world champions by making things easy for them. We failed in proper passing that cost us heavily. We failed in all departments.
“It’s possible that the team failed to sustain the pressure of the crunch game against the world champions.”
However, Junaid hoped for a better finish from his team than the last Olympics. Pakistan are to play a classification match, a situation that will get clear after the match against Spain and Great Britain which was due to start later on Tuesday.
‘Defence let us down’
Meanwhile, after conceding seven goals in the final game, chief selector and Olympian Hanif Khan stated the obvious – blaming the ‘fallen defence’.
“It was total humiliation,” said Khan. “This defeat has ruined the team’s overall satisfactory show in the event. It all happened because of poor defence and lack of planning from the team management. All we needed was to contain Australia till the opening quarter through solid defence. This is what I was yelling about before the match.”
Dutch top pool
Meanwhile, the Netherlands defeated South Korea 4-2 to top their pool with a fifth successive win which also allowed defending champions Germany to enter the semi-finals.
Netherlands, assured of a semi-final spot before Tuesday’s game, spiked a late rally from Asia Cup holders South Korea to complete an all-win record in the preliminary round-robin league. The Dutch emulated their women’s team, which on Monday stormed into the semi-finals by winning all five matches.
Netherlands finished with 15 points, while the defeat shattered South Korea’s hopes of staying in contention. The Koreans finished on six points from five matches. South Korea’s loss meant Germany, who have nine points from four games, will finish second in the group irrespective of the result in their last pool match against New Zealand. (with additional input from AFP)
“This defeat against Australia has ruined the team’s overall satisfactory performance in the Olympics. It all happened because of poor defence and lack of planning from the team management.”
“The team did not play up to their true potential, they failed to execute their plans and you cannot expect mercy from world champions Australia by making things easier for them.”
View a slideshow of the match here.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2012.