World champions Australia are set to meet Ireland in the quarter-final of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) World League semi-finals in Antwerp following the completion of the pool phase of the tournament.
Having beaten France, Pakistan and Poland in their opening matches of the competition Australia completed the pool phase with a 100 per cent record by beating India 6-2, Chris Ciriello scoring a hat-trick of penalty corners.
“We spend 25 hours a week training and a lot of that time is spent flicking and doing set piece practice, and today I was lucky enough for a few of them to come off,” Ciriello said.
“We had quite a lot of opportunities so it was good to take some today, there is still a lot that we can improve on though.”
They will face Ireland, whose men’s team are yet to qualify for an Olympic Games, after they finished fourth in Pool B with their only victory coming against a Chinese team who failed to win any of their matches and came bottom.
The battle for the top of Pool B was between Belgium and Britain.
The British team hoped to leapfrog the hosts by winning their final game against Malaysia.
The match did not get off to the best start for the British team, though, as they fell behind to a strike from Muhammed Shamsul.
Penalty corners from David Condon and Ashley Jackson turned the match around in the second-half, before Sam Ward found the net to seal a 3-1 victory.
It was not enough to send them through as pool winners, however, as Belgium’s captain John-John Dohmen scored in the final 25 seconds of their tie with Ireland to seal top spot with a 2-1 win.
The hosts will now face France in the last eight phase of the tournament, with Britain due to take on Pakistan,the third place finishers in Pool A.
India will begin as favourites in their quarter-final match against Malaysia, having finished as runners-up in Pool A.
Teams will be vying for top three positions in the Belgian city which would secure both a place in the Hockey World League finals and Olympic qualification.
All the quarter-finals are due to take place on Wednesday (July 1).
June 2015: Germany win Hockey World League semi-final event with comfortable win over hosts Argentina
June 2015: Argentina and Germany book Rio 2016 spots with Hockey World League semi-final victories
June 2015: Germany set up Olympic gold medal rematch at Hockey World League event with victory over South Korea
June 2015: Hosts finish pool stage at Hockey World League semi-final with maximum points as last eight decided
June 2015: Spain into last eight of Hockey World League semi-final