The hegemony continues. The reign of Australia in the Commonwealth Games men's hockey competition was extended to the fourth gold medal in a row on Thursday.
With a display that reflected the effect of method, mobility and of the myriad patterns, the Aussies overwhelmed India with a devastating 8-0 victory before a packed audience headed by the Prime Minister at the Dhyan Chand Stadium.
Absolutely awesome by any yardstick, the Aussies on this day elevated their craft and competence to a new trajectory of excellence, clearly enlarging the chasm that exists between a World champion and the 11th ranked team like India.
Quite predictably, the expectations were high, somewhat exaggerated too by the media, after the win over England.
But India, outplayed and outstretched in every department of the game, lost the plot midway in the first half, flunking the first penalty corner.
Consciously keeping the pace within manageable limits, the Indian team obviously was in a state of illusion of keeping the aggressive and athletic Aussies under some check for most of the part.
Progressively, however, the Aussies escalated the pace, and struck when a neat forward pass by Matthew Swann flabbergasted the defenders. Jason Wilson produced a stunner of shot to bemuse goal-keeper Chettri for the lead.
That opening was sufficient for the Aussies to get a grip over the match and they continued to exercise absolute control till the last second when Glenn Turner smashed in the eighth goal.
Appalling work in the defensive line, with even Sardar Singh playing below par and Mahadik finding himself at wrong positions most of the time, made Australia's task easier. There was no mid-field work worth mentioning. Even the celebrated Arjun Halappa looked a babe in the woods. Neither Gurbaj nor Prabodh was able to match the speedy runs of Glenn Turner and Jason Wilson.
Under pressure every minute goal-keeper Chettri was lost in the maze of moves. The penalty corner thunderbolts by Chriss Ciriello and Luke Doerner (2) exposed the vulnerability of the defenders.
In the mayhem caused by the Aussies through their capacity to conceive raids in a jiffy, the Indian forwards were reduced to mere spectators. India managed just two penalty corners in the match against the five for the Aussies.
The verdict will go into history as one of the worst suffered in a final. Many were compelled to recall the 1-7 reverse against Pakistan in the Asian Games of 1982.
The only consolation perhaps is the fact that the silver here is the first ever medal of any hue for India in the men's hockey competition in the Commonwealth Games.
Bronze for New Zealand
After displaying admirable fortitude to comeback into the match bridging the goal deficits more than once, England caved in during the tie-breaker to concede the bronze to the spirited and systematic New Zealand on Thursday. Surprisingly sluggish in the early part during which the Kiwis signed in two goals showing a good deal of pressure tactics.
The England defenders were error prone throughout as testified by the two penalty strokes in the three that the Kiwis scored in the regulation time. But the recovery was remarkable. Simon Tindell netted before half-time, and went on to cap a hat-trick.
Fighting the heat and a spirited opposition led commendably from the mid-field by Phil Burrows, the Englishmen forced as many as ten penalty corners in the match. The authority of dominance in the rival area was complete in the second half. But the man the Kiwis looked up to was goal-keeper Kyle Pontifex, whose agility, and anticipation and athleticism stood out in every save he effected from Ashley Jackson, Simon Mantell and Richard Mantell.
In the tie breaker, it was even going till Pontifex made a brilliant save from a push by Adam Dixon.
This is the first bronze medal for the Kiwis in the competition. The team had won the silver in 2002. England has not won a medal after the bronze in 1998.
The results: (3-4): New Zealand 3 (Dean Couzins, Nick Haig, Hayden Shaw) beat England 3 (Simon Mantell 3); HT 2-1. Tie-breaker: New Zealand 5 (Dean Couzins, Phil Burrows, Hayden Shaw, Andrew Hayward, Shea Mcaleeese) beat England 3 (Richard Smith, Richard Mantell, Ashley Jackson)
Final: Australia 8 (Jason Wilson 2,Chris Ciriello, Luke Doerner 2, Simon Orchard, Jaime Dwyer, Glenn Turner) beat India 0; HT 4-0.
Final placings: 1.Australia, 2. India, 3. New Zealand, 4. England, 5. South Africa, 6. Pakistan, 7. Canada, 8. Malaysia, 9. Scotland, 10. Trinidad and Tobago.