Defending champions Australia beat Ireland 2-1 today at the Men's Hockey World Cup ©Getty Images

Defending champions Australia got their campaign off to a winning start today at the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Men’s World Cup as England were held to a surprise draw against China in Bhubaneswar in India. 

The Kookaburras, winners of the last World Cup in 2014 and who are currently ranked number one in the world, saw off Ireland 2-1 in Pool B.

But in the second game, England conceded an equaliser in the penultimate minute to drop two points against China.

In the first match at the Kalinga Stadium, Australia took the lead after 11 minutes when Blake Govers dragged flicked a penalty corner past David Harte in the Ireland goal.

Ireland managed to equalise in the second-quarter, however, when a fantastic team move was finished by Shane O’Donoghue thanks to a beautiful piece of 3D skill in the circle.

Sadly for Ireland though that piece of brilliance was not enough to earn them a point, as a second Australian goal from Tim Brand in the third-quarter proved to be the winner.

Afterwards Brand, who turned 20 yesterday, claimed Ireland played very well.

"Great crowd and I couldn’t have asked for anything better to celebrate my birthday," he added.

A late equaliser saw China draw against England ©Getty Images
A late equaliser saw China draw against England ©Getty Images

In the day’s second match, it started badly for England as China, ranked 17th in the world, opened the scoring after just five minutes.

Guo Xiaoping showed some lovely skills along the baseline before flicking into the roof of the net past George Pinner.

A penalty corner drag flick from Mark Gleghorne brought England level however, just before the first-quarter came to an end.

Two goalless quarters followed, meaning as the fourth began, both sides had just 15 minutes to try and snatch a winner.

With 12 minutes to go it looked like England had bagged themselves a winner thanks to Liam Ansell.

The forward managed to snatch the ball from a Chinese defender before unleashing a reverse stick strike into the bottom corner, but the English were unable to hold on.

A penalty corner won by China with less than two minutes to go was dragged into the back of the net by Du Talake to earn his side a point.

Tomorrow's action is due to begin in Pool D as The Netherlands take on Malaysia before Germany face Pakistan.