THE Kookaburras will play England in the Champions Trophy quarter-finals after a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Pakistan in their final group game on Tuesday night.
Aiming for a fifth successive title, Australia's men's hockey team did it the hard way - winning the match with a second-half penalty corner goal from Kieran Govers.
The result left the Kookaburras second in their Pool B; the Netherlands finished top on goal difference after a thrilling 5-4 win over Belgium earlier in the day.
Australia needed a two-goal margin to top the group, and Pakistan also had the chance to win the pool if it beat the Kookaburras.
It became apparent early there would be no repeat of Australia's 7-0 smashing of the Pakistanis at the London Olympics this year, with Pakistan showing excellent defensive discipline in the first half.
Pakistan also had the better chances, hitting the post early in the second half before a costly brain snap from Shafqat Rasool changed the course of the match.
His terrible tackle in an area he didn't need to challenge resulted in a yellow card, and Australia's first penalty corner of the match.
Penalty corners had been a weakness in this tournament for the Australians, but Govers took full advantage for the Kookaburras' first goal in nearly two hours of hockey.
In Thursday's other quarter-finals, India - which finished on top of Pool A despite a 3-2 loss to Germany on Tuesday - will play Belgium. Germany will play Pakistan and the Dutch play New Zealand.
Govers said the Australians' struggles with penalty corners during the tournament had spurred him to work even harder on converting his drag flicks - and he was thankful he finally got his second-half chance.
''It was my personal goal - I worked on it yesterday at training because I was a bit disappointed not scoring against the Dutch (in the 0-0 draw on Sunday),'' Govers said.
''The main thing is get them on goal and make them make a save. It's just one of those things. Luck can be with you on the day.
''But it was good to get one under the belt and hopefully more will come in the coming days.''
The Australians played without key midfielder Simon Orchard because of a quadriceps injury.
Assistant coach Graham Reid said Orchard was doubtful for Thursday night's quarter-final.