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Kookaburras cruise into World Cup final

Date

Joe Barton

Successful strike: Kieran Govers scores for the Kookaburras.

Successful strike: Kieran Govers scores for the Kookaburras. Photo: Reuters

THE HAGUE: Defending champions Australia cruised into final of the men's hockey World Cup with an utterly dominant 5-1 semi-final demolition of Argentina in the Hague.

A day after their female counterparts reached the final with a thrilling shootout victory over the United States, Australia's men provided no heart attacks as they carried on their superb form to remain unbeaten this tournament.

The match was all but decided by halftime, after a near-flawless 35 minutes that delivered three goals for Australia and zero shots on goal for Argentina.

The Kookaburras were nearly as impressive after the break, adding a further two goals.

It sets up a dream showdown with hosts the Netherlands, who booked their place in Sunday's final with a hard-fought 1-0 victory over England.

After just four minutes Kieran Govers had opened the scoring from a penalty corner with his fourth goal of the tournament, continuing Australia's terrific record of striking early - it was the fifth consecutive game in which they'd scored in the opening seven minutes.

Australia continued to press and a second goal was delivered when Govers earned a penalty corner - and Jeremy Hayward drilled it home the first of his two goals.

By the time young gun Jacob Whetton produced a sensational reverse stick strike to stretch the advantage to three goals, with halftime in sight, the result was virtually assured.

Not even a green card, and two-minute sin bin, for Australia's five-time player-of-the-year Jamie Dwyer could stop the slaughter.

Dwyer was accused of "taking the mickey" by umpire Hamish Jamson, and was punished for time-wasting after denying Argentina the opportunity to take a quick free hit early in the second half.

Australia drilled home their advantage with Chris Ciriello and Hayward again converting penalty corners as the lead ballooned.

With 12 minutes remaining, the Kookaburras conceded just their second goal of the tournament when Argentina's penalty corner specialist, Gonzalo Peillat, breached the defences of goalkeeper Andrew Charter.

The tournament's leading scorer, Peillat, delivered a blistering strike to give Argentina some small consolation.

AAP

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