x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Australia hammer in a record dozen

England held off Pakistan 5-2 to stay unbeaten while Australia achieved the biggest win in the history of field hockey's World Cup by beating South Africa 12-0.

Spain's Albert Sala celebrates after scoring the first goal against India.
Spain's Albert Sala celebrates after scoring the first goal against India.

England held off Pakistan 5-2 to stay unbeaten while Australia achieved the biggest win in the history of field hockey's World Cup by hammering South Africa 12-0. The Olympic silver medalist Spain revived their semi-final chances with a 5-2 victory over hosts India. England lead Pool B with nine points, Australia and Spain have six each, India and Pakistan have three each, and South Africa are yet to earn a point. England's third straight win halfway through pool play left them in a good position to qualify for the semi-finals for the first time since their silver medal at London in 1986, but it came at the cost of defender Richard Mantell, who dislocated his ankle and was out for the rest of the tournament.

England play India next and the hosts will need to win by a huge margin if they have to keep their chances afloat. Field goals by Albert Sala and captain Pol Amat gave Spain a 2-0 lead at halftime before Quemada converted two penalty corners and David Alegre capitalised on a penalty corner rebound to give Spain a second win in three matches. Sandeep Singh and Gurwinder Chandi reduced the margin for India, which has not managed to qualify for the last four stage in eight World Cups since their title in 1975. The penalty corner specialist Luke Doerner scored four times and Jamie Dwyer three as Australia eclipsed the previous biggest win of 12-3 by Pakistan against New Zealand at Bombay in 1982. Australia's previous best World Cup scoreline was 9-0 against Ghana in 1975. * AP