Australia secured their seventh successive Commonwealth Games gold medal in men’s hockey as they beat India 7-0 in the final on Monday in Birmingham.
Australia scored through Blake Govers (9’), Nathan Ephraums (14’, 42’), Jacob Anderson (22’, 27’), Tom Wickham (26’) and Flynn Ogilvie (46’) even as India had just one attempt on the Australian goal in the entire match.
India came into the final on the back of some fine performances in the group stage as they beat Ghana 11-0, drew against England 4-4, beat Canada 8-0 and Wales 4-1 before beating South Africa 3-2 in the semifinal.
In final, Australia were quick off the blocks pressing the Indian defenders from the get go. Though India survived the onslaught in the initial few minutes, Australia took the lead in the ninth minute when Blake Govers converted his team’s third penalty corner of the match. The six-time defending champions extended their lead in the 14th minute when Nathan Ephraums scored a field goal.
While the Australian attackers were in sublime form, their defence ensured India found no space in the circle to create any scoring opportunity. Even as the Indian attackers struggled to find a breakthrough, Australia went on to pump three more goals in the second quarter through Jacob Anderson (22’, 27’) and Tom Wickham (26’).
India were also dealt a big blow when captain Manpreet Singh was forced out of the match after injuring his right shoulder in a collision with an Australian player.
Going into the half-time break, Indian team were left staring at a massive 0-5 deficit and had their task cut out for the third quarter when Australia returned with similar gumption as the first two quarters. Although India conceded only one goal in the third quarter, they were also unable to create any chances.
With Manpreet back in the dugout retired hurt, and Vivek Sagar Prasad already ruled out pre match due to injury, the onus was on Hardik and Nilakanta who had to free up space in the midfield to help forwards surge ahead. But tactically astute Australian defence denied the midfielders any space to attack.
Coming into the final, Australia had not conceded a single goal from penalty corners and on Monday, they went a step further by not conceding a single penalty corner.
The Kookaburas stamped their authority in the fourth quarter by scoring their seventh of the day through Flynn Ogilvie to celebrate a record-extending seventh gold medal at the Commonwealth Games. No other teams has ever won the men’s hockey gold at CWG.
For India, 2022 marked a return to the podium after altogether missing out in 2018. The freak result will sting but it can be a learning experience as they now start to prepare for the World Cup at home early next year.