The world number one Kookaburras won’t let complacency enter their minds in Friday night’s 2018 FIH Hockey World Cup clash with 17th ranked China PR despite already securing top spot in Pool B.
Reigning World Cup champions Australia (six points) clinched their automatic quarter-finals spot following Tuesday’s 3-0 win over England, with China (two points), Ireland (one point) and the English (one point) left to fight it out for the other positions in the pool.
Australia’s quarter-final will take place at 10:30pm AEDT on Wednesday 12 December against the winner of the crossover match between Pool A’s runners-up and third in Pool B.
Tuesday’s Player of the Match Matthew Swann insisted the Kookaburras wouldn’t allow themselves to flirt with form against the Chinese who’ve surprised at the World Cup by drawing their two opening games.
“Two wins, we’re sitting pretty at the moment in our pool,” Swann said.
“We’re happy with that but we know it’s a long road to go. There’s a lot of good competition ahead of us.
“We’re not getting too far ahead of ourselves. There’s a lot of work to do.
“We’re hopefully going to keep building from the England game.”
Swann, 29, is well placed to know what’s required to win a World Cup, being one of only two current Kookaburras players who was part of both the 2010 and 2014 triumphs, along with co-captain Eddie Ockenden.
The tireless defender from Mackay was only 21-years-old and 16 caps into his international career when he helped Australia win the 2010 World Cup but now he’s a key part of the leadership group with 179 Kookaburras appearances under his belt.
“We’ll take the games as they come,” Swann said.
“We’ll continue to build and grow as a team throughout this tournament.
“It’s going to be a long one but we’re prepared.”
A feature of Tuesday’s 3-0 win over England was Australia’s clinical finishing in front of goal, nailing three final quarter goals from Jake Whetton, Blake Govers and Corey Weyer.
Swann’s fellow Queenslander Whetton scored the opener with a pinpoint shot across England keeper George Pinner and in at the far post.
Whetton, who recently celebrated the birth of his first child Felix with his wife, said he was glad his hard work on the training pitch paid off.
“I’ve been playing a different position and the coach is always encouraging me to get into the top of the circle for a rebound,” 27-year-old Whetton said.
“I’m happy for it to fall to me. I’ve been working on a goal shot like that for a while, so I’m happy it paid off.”
Australia takes on China PR from 10:30pm LIVE on FOX SPORTS 503 and kayosports.com.au.