New Zealand's Blair Tarrant goes down while making a cross in the match against Poland in the Champions Challenge I tournament in Kuantan on Tuesday. The Kiwis won 8-3. - BERNAMA
KUANTAN: It was Child’s play for Champions Challenge I top seeds New Zealand as they ended their Group A campaign in style – with an 8-3 thrashing of Poland.
Simon Child bagged a hat-trick to make sure the Kiwis top the group unbeaten and set them up for a quarter-final clash against Malaysia on Thursday.
Poland, who finished third in the group, will face Canada in the last eight.
Poland were actually heading for a bottom-placed finish in the group when a Krystian Markowski penalty in the 70th minute allowed them to nudge above Japan on goals scored.
The New Zealand-Poland match at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium here was a mis-match right from the start.
Child opened the scoring in the fourth minute before Andy Hayward chipped in with a brace in the eighth and 33rd minutes. Stephen Jenness’ 27th-minute field goal made sure New Zealand trooped off with a 4-0 half-time lead.
Child went on to complete the first hat-trick of the tournament when he struck again in the 45th and 56th minutes.
New Zealand’s other scorers were Blair Hilton (51st) and Hugo Inglis (63rd).
Poland got their goals through Tomas Gorny (57th minute) and Markowski (68th).
In the other Group B match, Ireland notched their first win by edging Japan 1-0.
Ireland, Poland and Japan all finished with three points each but Ireland finished second with a better goal difference.
Ireland will take on France in the last eight while Japan will face South Korea.
Japan had a good chance to open the scoring against Ireland but Kei Kawakami sent his penalty stroke flick wide in the first half.
Ireland finally came alive in the 66th minute to score through Alan Sothern.
Ireland coach Craig Fulton said that his team will be ready to face anyone in the last eight.
“We showed improvement in the match against Japan. I was hoping that we would score in the last quarter because my team worked so hard,” he said.