Charlesworth saw his charges put paid to South Africa 6-0, then the highly fancied Spain 5-0 followed by disastrous second half performances leading 2-0 over Argentina to be pulled back 2-2 and worse, leading 3-0 over Great Britain to be levelled at 3-3.
Australia’s super performing coach Charlesworth appeared stumped and Kookaburra captain Jamie Dwyer voted the world’s best player for four years couldn’t provide an answer other than they needed to tighten up in defence.
This Pakistan fixture therefore would determine whether the Kookaburras would even qualify for the semi-finals as opposed to have already qualified had they turned either of those draws into victories. It was an astonishing outcome to find themselves.
But the Kookaburras were leading 4-0 at half time with goals by De Young, Knowles and Chris Ciriello (2) which set up a brilliant test of character in that second half. But it was Australia’s day. Charlesworth had sorted out the second half problems. Additional goals came from the sticks of Ford, Turner, and Dwyer.
Hockeyroos rued no Plan B
The same could not be said for the Hockeyroos whose lack of a Plan B was clear for all to see. The Australian girls only lost one match, that to New Zealand in their first Pool match 0-1. They then beat the fancied Germans 3-1 followed by wins over South Africa and the United States 1-0. But 9 points from three wins was not enough.
Argentina in that last Pools match was a completely different kettle of fish. They are tough defenders and one of the favourites for Gold. Once it became clear the Argentinean defence had the measure of the Hockeyroo’s attack machinations, the Australians failed to employ a Plan B – if they had one it would have been deployed.
Plan B could have been the tied with true stick skills of the ‘single fighter pilot’ who heads straight ahead with a compatriot to the right or left with the one–two pass. The Hockeyroos didn’t even attempt it.
Having said that, winning three, losing one and drawing one seems an unlikely scenario to miss out on a semi-final berth. That’s the way the cookie crumbles. Or the cricket quip – ‘Can’t throw, Can’t bowl’ - to ‘Can’t score, Can’t win!”